Jorge Velazquez Mendez owns Finca El Plan, a three hectare farm in Guatemala, where he grows Caturra coffee. It’s grown with some shade cover from other trees, and picked when ripe and de-puled the same day. It’s then fermented with water for 36-48 hours.
His team then washes the coffee about three times to remove all the mucilage, and dries it on shadecloth for three days.
Coffee production in Guatemala first grew in the 1860s, after the decline of the indigo trade. It was in the top five coffee-producing nations until 2011, when it was overtaken by Honduras.
We’ve shared some coffee from the Huehuetenango region previously – including Peña Blanca, Maravilla, and Los Encuentros. It’s a non-volcanic region of Guatemala that’s characterised by its high altitude and predictable climate, and often considered to produce the highest quality coffee in the country.
Ixconlaj is a rural community in the region, where most speak Mam, one of Guatemala’s indigenous languages. Most of the community are subsistence farmers, cultivating crops like corn, plantain, legumes, and coffee such as this. Coffee’s by the far the most labour-intensive of the crops, but also the one with the most potential should it reach the international specialty market.
We think Guatemala’s an origin you’ll see more in specialty, and that’s all down to a new crop of quality-focused farmers like Jorge.