Caturra, bourbon, and catuaí varieties, washed process
Roasted for espresso brewing
Hazelnut praline, purple grape, and sesame snaps
This coffee comes to us from a group of twelve farmers, each located in the Huehuetenango region of northern Guatemala, and is the result of a project exploring coffees produced with extended fermentation times.
Each of the farmers who have contributed to this lot are participants in PECA—a Growers Education Program run by the coffee importer, Caravela. More broadly, the program offers education and support to specialty coffee growers before, during, and after each harvest, connecting them with other growers and providing information about changing market dynamics and input costs.
This project, known as La Conserva and named after the local fruit jams, features coffees that have been processed in a way that’s slightly unusual for the area. Typically, after ripe cherries have been harvested, they’re pulped immediately with the skins and a majority of the fruit flesh being mechanically removed prior to fermentation, washing, and drying. In the case of La Conserva, the cherries are fermented whole for 12 hours before being pulped, at which point they’re then fermented slowly under water for another 20 - 30 hours before going to the drying stage.
The thinking here is that a greater percentage of the fruit characteristic will be encouraged into the coffee during the in-cherry fermentation, and that the underwater fermentation will arrest any potential off flavours and enhance clarity and cleanliness. Without a side-by-side comparison of the same cherries processed traditionally, it’s hard to know whether it’s working as intended, but what we do know is that the resulting cup profile is something we enjoyed immensely, and thought would be very well suited to an espresso preparation.
For us, this coffee abounds with coating milk chocolate and toasted hazelnut, reminiscent of those Italian-esque gianduja pralines you used to be able to get at Koko Black (back when they still made everything by hand). There’s a little hint of purple grape, and the honeyed sweetness of sesame snaps in there, too.
This is our first time purchasing La Conserva, and have done so through our import partners, Caravela.