We know that in the winter months nothing is better than cozying up with a truly warming and chocolatey coffee, so we have been hard at work bolstering our "classic" coffee lineup. This Guatemala is particularly lovely... Notes of Fig, Cashew, Maple Syrup, and Plum, and everything you'd hope out of a classic Central American coffee. Even better? It's a coffee that brought a war-torn community together.
Farms of Lake Atitlán coffee is mainly from a village called Pacoc which is right outside San Lucas Toliman on the way to Cerro de Oro. Our partner Los Volcanes works with close to 100 producers in this area to which we would have to trace individual deliveries ensuring traceability. Each producer gets paid individually and each producer delivers 1 to 2 bags of cherry every day.
The lot is the result of the production of 32 small farms located in a valley between Volcan Atitlan and Volcán Tolimán. The majority of these small shareholding producers live and work in the town of Patulul. This diverse group of Kaqchikel coffee producers acquired their land in many different ways, for the most part inheriting the land from their parents. Between 1960 and 1996 this region was plagued with extreme violence due to the thirty-year-long civil war in Guatemala. The atrocities of this war caused distrust among people in the region, communities, and even neighbors. For years, these farmers weren't trusting each other and to this day are still wary of outsiders. In 2001, with the crash of the coffee market to an all-time low of 0.41 USD per pound and the 2013 rust outbreak, farms were being abandoned and locals sought work elsewhere. However, not all hope was lost among these producers the fact that they are having high-quality ancient bourbon varietals scattered about the region, along with other common Caturra, Catimor, Typica, and Sarchimor varieties found in Guatemala means that these farms still have the ability to generate profits, due to the potential quality production they can harvest.
After establishing trust amongst each other, these farms began working together and the members began to organise an efficient method of compiling and sending their coffee cherries for processing and exportation. The enthusiasm for the cultivation of coffee has been once again ignited in the area and today this new generation of farmers continue to improve their cultivation methods and harvesting techniques as well as strive to improve their quality of life by being able to receive better price through the production of specialty coffees. The farmers, who previously had little to no knowledge of what happened to their cherries after being sold, are now able to see the processing, roasting, and cupping of their coffees, as Los Volcanes offers them the opportunity to take part in the post-harvest process as well as taking part in workshop and classes organised by LVC.