De La Gente
This micro-lot of specialty coffee was harvested in the Antigua region, near the city of San Miguel Escobar. The Antigua region is one of the 8 coffee areas of Guatemala defined by the Anacafé association (National Coffee Association in Guatemala). Coffee and its cultivation were introduced into the country around the mid 19th century. Guatemala has had a tricky history in the coffee industry due to the scarcity of knowledge and technologies, but has managed to thrive and become the first Central American coffee producer.
Region: Guatemala – San Miguel Escobar, Antigua
Altitude: 1500-1900 m
Producer: 28 members if the cooperativa de La Gente
Processing station: Cooperativa de la Gente
Cultivar: Arabica – Bourbon, Catuai
Harvest: Picking (manual) January – March 2019
Processing method: Natural
Nice aromas of almond and tropical fruit, featuring notes of mango, sugar cane and, candied barley candies. A sweet and very balanced cup with a juicy and velvety body.
GARAGE COFFEE BROS
La Region Antigua
The Antigua region, is very important for coffee production in Guatemala, is located on a plateau in a valley between three volcanoes: Agua (water), Fuego(Fire), and Acatenango. Antigua, the city that gives its name to the region of which it is the capital, is located at 1500 meters above sea level. This city has a rich history, it used to be the capital of the country until 1773 when two terrible earthquakes completely destroyed it, causing it to lose its title. Since then, it has remained unchanged with its colonial architecture with numerous beautiful churches and palaces. Today it has become a touristic landmark of Guatemala. The climate of the region is humid and stable, the nights remain cool all year round although the temperatures during the day vary greatly between the rainy and dry seasons. This allows the coffee to mature slowly and homogeneously, which translates into an extraordinary cup result.
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La cooperativa De La Gente
Until recently, in Guatemala coffee production was monopolised in large fincas which belonged to a few owners. Just 25 years ago, thanks to the experience gained in large fincas, some small producers have started to grow their coffee on smaller plantations. But they were lacking the necessary knowledge to correctly process the coffee beans. So once harvested, they sold the cherries on the local market at the prices imposed by the big producers.
The Café Artesanal San Miguel and De la Gente cooperatives were founded in 2005 thanks to an American volunteer. His training as an engineer allowed him to improve the quality of artisan coffee and thus the economic conditions of the farmers. He started working with seven producers on freshly harvested coffee cherries. With this added value, he went in search of importers able to appreciate the quality of this high-grown coffee.
Today, the cooperative has grown and has 28 active members including 3 women. The organizational structure makes the members very responsible and each one is very careful to maintain the high-quality standards during the different production phases, from cultivation to harvesting and processing, in order not to penalize the other members of the cooperative.
Structure of the cooperative
The members own small plantations. In Guatemala, the land is measured in cuerdas and one cuerda equals 1089 square meters. The plantations of the members of the cooperative are of different surfaces and the largest measures 40 cuerdas. Each producer takes care of the processing of drupes when processed with the washed method while the cooperative De La Gente centralizes and manages the processing of coffee with the natural method; They lay the hand-picked drupes of coffee on raised beds where they dry for 20-30 days. The station is equipped with solar energy systems financed by the cooperative and by some of its partners. The Café Artesanal San Miguel cooperative manages the export of the coffees of the associated cooperative as well as allowing other cooperatives to work their own coffees in the De La Gente processing plants. Some members independently produce natural or processed coffee with the Honey method, and also cascara, i.e. the dried coffee pulp that can be consumed in the form of an infusion.
The benefits of the cooperative
The members of the cooperative have experienced that the efforts required to be part of the cooperative allow to reap many benefits. First, to be paid about 45% more than what they could get at local market price, so they can significantly improve their economic conditions: they can invest to improve their homes or plantations, offer a complete school path to their children and pay the necessary care to keep their families healthy. The cooperative also offers financing for those who want to enlarge their production. Finally, an additional source of income proposed by the cooperative consists of participating in the tour program on the theme of coffee by hosting tourists on their farms and giving them a guided tour of their plantations.
Photo credit: De La Gente
This coffee has been personally roasted by Davide Cobelli, the Italian roasting champion of 2020. He is particularly attentive to the characteristics of the raw material, Davide explains that having been natural processed, this coffee is more delicate and less dense than a washed coffee. As a result, it can’t stand too high temperatures. To enhance the fruity and sweet notes, in this case, he preferred to work on power rather than on high temperature.
From the toasting curve shown below, we can appreciate that Davide pre-heated the toaster to a temperature of 175 ° C. After pouring the green beans, the temperature dropped to 96 ° C in less than a minute and a half, and then went up constantly until the end of the roasting. Maillard’s reaction, the moment in which the caramelization of sugars takes place and which causes the browning of the beans, happens between 4 and 8 minutes into the roasting process. The first crack took place at 8 minutes and 33 seconds of cooking (third dot on the curve) at a temperature of 186 ° C. From that moment, Davide supplied the beans with heat for an additional minute and a half, to finally passing the roasted coffee into a large cooling tank.
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