The Mendez family produces some fantastic offerings. Good buddies with Edwin Martinez and the neighboring farm to Finca Vista Hermosa, we have loved some of the other family members coffee before but this is our first lot direct from Francisco.
Francisco, along with his uncles Gabino and Gilberto, work an entire mountainside side of a mountain in remote Northwest Huehuetenango. While working in coffee alongside family members is not rare in Guatemala, the depth of collaboration and transparency with which they partner is remarkable. Year after year, they share successes and misses, working together to make each other’s lots thrive. They operate like a co-op, each member making their contributions.
Of the three, Gabino is focused most on quality improvements, so he travels to Guatemala City to take courses at Anacafe, learning about innovations in varieties and processing. Recently, he implemented his learning by lengthening the washing channels on their central wet mill to improve processing, and this year’s crop showcases brighter, crisper profiles as a result. Another example is shade: Gabino utilizes mostly Chalum shade, as Gravilea trees make the soil more acidic. Chalum leaves biodegrade four times faster than Gravilea leaves, and he and his sons are monitoring the longer-term soil impacts as a result. Francisco Florencio supports his uncles with the water from his ground springs, and Gilberto makes structural improvements around the farm. Gabino’s sons have also studied soil science, and support with soil analysis and fertilizer on each lot. The result is that each lot improves significantly and all family members benefit.
This harvest, we worked with the Mendez family to carefully blend lots based on cupping, analysis, and conversation, keeping each member’s lots separated to showcase their work. Francisco’s small lots, including El Barranco, El Peñazco and La Joyada, create a distinct creamy sweet, caramel and pear profile.
Tasting Notes: A great cup of Guatemalan coffee, not too acidity, a real sweet edge to this cup. Good from light to dark. Lighter roasts show a little more tart apple like acidity with just hints of a darker tone. Medium roasts have a nice sugary sweetness upfront, medium bodied, low acidity with more of a creamy malty tone that gives some hints of caramel. The winning roast level in our book. The beans hold a dark roast very nicely, touching 2nd crack did not introduce too much smoky or roasty tones, still sweet but much stronger, hints of a winy floral aspect mixing with darker chocolate and malty-ness.
Roasting Notes: A nice medium roasts presents this cup at its best – lighter roasts give a bit more crispness but lacked darker tone balance. Medium roasts have the best balance and will make anyone happy. Dark roasts will get a bit stronger without being a roasty smoke bomb, which many will love as well.
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