||Guatemala El Limon Washed Catimor 2016
A few years back, on a visit to Guatemala, my good friend Raul Rodas (a name you may recognise from such World Barista Championships at 2012, when he WON!) was really keen for me to visit a farm that he'd been buying from for a couple of years. In Raul I trust, so of course I said 'yes'.
El Limon is located around an hour's drive to the east of Guatemala city, in the small town of Palencia. This farm sits at an altitude of around 1,600 meters above sea level. It's owned by Guadalupe Alberto Reyes ('Beto'), who used to be the mayor of Palencia and has helped build and develop the town.
Palencia is not part of the eight regions of coffee from Anacafe, but you can see a lot of development in that zone. San Patricio el Limon is a perfect example of that development. I like being in places that are working to be hot and up-and-coming, as well as those places that have established players.
The farm produces mainly Caturra and Bourbon, and does some experimentation with Pacamara, too. It also produces some Pache and Catimor. This coffee is 100% Catimor, which is a somewhat controversial coffee varietal because it's a cross between Timor coffee (resistant to leaf rust – a big problem in central America at the moment) and Caturra coffee, which was was created in (of all places) Portugal in 1959.
Catimor grows and produces fruit very quickly and has a very high yield. It's also resistant to pests and leaf rust, and it will grow well at much lower altitudes in comparison to many other commercial varietals. Sounds perfect, right? Sadly, problems often appear in the cup quality.
Timor has its feet in the Robusta species (hence all these lovely benefits), but Robusta really isn't known for being tasty. Luckily for me and you, this is a fantastic example of what can be achieved by the varietal, and it comes from the dedication Beto has to push El Limon forward, onwards, and upwards – to infinity and beyond!
The experimentation done on El Limon is inspired by Beto's motivation. He has really focused on the farm in the last couple of years. He wanted to take more care in every step that they took in the production chain, from picking to processing to shipping, and also in the agronomy of the farm. This is very much a family affair: Beto's siblings, wife, and son all work on the farm alongside him. In fact, his son is actually studying agronomy at the local college for the benefit of the farm.
The dedication and care in each step is reflected in the fact that they have built a new wet mill, so that they can separate different lots and have control over the quality of all the coffee. Previously the mill could only process one lot; now they are able to process many lots and keep separate day's pickings and varietals in their parcels.
With this wet mill came another opportunity, which was for neighbours and people within the region of Palencia to bring their coffees and process them at the mill. Again, this is another sign that this is a hotspot for Guatemalan coffee.
Beto was the perfect host when I visited the farm. He welcomed me around the farm and into his home, and he prepared the most amazing meal. When you travel as much as I do, mid-trip you find yourself longing for something big, home-cooked, and not from a restaurant or roadside pop-up cafe. This traditional Guatemalan meal was just the ticket and I am sure it saved my life.
You can tell that this is a farm on the up, and a farm on top of their game. When I visited, every question was dispatched with exactly the right answer and every suggestion was listened to and taken on board. In the coming years I think this will be one of the most exciting relationships we have.
In the cup you'll find milk chocolate, red grape and dark fruits: blackberry really stands out to me. There's plenty of dried fruit on the finish and a thick mouthfeel throughout.
• Country: Guatemala
• Region: Palencia
• Farm: San Patricio El Limon
• Farmer: Guadalupe Alberto Reyes
• Altitude: 1,600 m.a.s.l.
• Variety: Catimor
• Processing System: Washed
Medium dark, first pops of second but will go quite hot
"Quick Look" Guide
Milk chocolate, red grape, blackberry, dried fruit, thick mouthfeel.
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