Guatemala: Mendez- Washed Bourbon & Catuai
In the cup: Smooth, round flavour profile with sweet milk-chocolate notes and juicy stone fruit acidity with a hint of ripe melon.
Cupping Score: 88
Mouthfeel: Soft, textured.
Varieties: Bourbon, catuai
Process: Fully washed
Producer: Finca Familia Mendez
Altitude: 1700 meters above sea level
Sisters Juana and Minga Mendez are 4th-generation coffee growers who have lived and farmed in Chichimes in Huehuetenango for most of their lives. In 2010, the sisters were the first female producers to work with Rosma Coffeelands to promote their coffees. Since then, they’ve been successfully exporting their coffees under their own name and receiving fair prices that enable them to reinvest in their farm.
Juana and Minga selectively handpick ripe, red cherry and process it on their farm. They pulp cherry on a drum pulper and dry ferment it for 40 hours. Following fermentation, they wash parchment in clean water and lay it to dry on patios. They rake parchment every hour to ensure even drying and cover it at night to prevent condensation. It takes approximately 7 to 9 days for parchment to dry. Once dry, parchment is bagged and stored in a mill in Huehuetenango, where the cool weather and low humidity is ideal for storing coffees. Parchment rests for about 3 months before being milled and prepared for export.
Huehuetenango is well-known for its high altitude and consistent weather patterns. The region lies at a nexus of hot air sweeping eastwards from the Plains of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca, Mexico and cool air rushing down from the Cuchumantanes Mountains. The meeting of this hot and cold air creates a microclimate that keeps frost in check and enables coffee cultivation at higher altitudes: coffee production at 2,000 meters above sea level is common. These conditions are perfect for producing the sparkling acidity and distinctive fruit flavors of the region.