A desire to experiment is one of the big reasons that we love buying from San Patricio El Limon; we've been getting coffee from them since first introduced seven years ago by our mutual friend Raul Rodas (2012 World Barista Champion), and they're just getting more and more awesome each year.
The experimentation is thanks to the motivation of Guadalupe Alberto Reyes (known as Beto to his friends), he's been the owner of the farm for 21 years now, and in recent years has really focussed on the farm and on continually striving to improve. He aims to take more care in every step they take on the farm, from picking, to processing, to shipping. Beto's son, Saul, has been studying agronomy at the local college for the past seven years, and he uses his knowledge to benefit practices on the farm.
All the family has a part to play in the day-to-day running of the farm, including Beto's wife Maralyn, their children Saul, Elena, and Betio; Betio's wife Mafer; and Beto's brother Felix, who runs their mill. In addition to the family, they employ a team of seven workers outside of harvest. That team manages the weeding, mill upgrades and general farm work.
The farm itself is eighteen hectares in size and sits at an altitude between 1,350–1,850 meters above sea level. The farm mainly produces Caturra and Bourbon but has also recently started growing SL28, H1, H3, Maracaturra, Maragogype, Geisha, Pacamaras, Caturras and Catuaí (yellow and red). In addition, around 8 water reservoirs have been built around the entire farm in order to preserve this vital liquid and help ensure the sustainability of the farm.
It is located roughly an hour's drive to the east of Guatemala City in the small town of Palencia, which Beto also happens to be Mayor of! He has helped to build and develop the town alongside running his farm – honestly have no idea how he finds enough hours in the day, what a guy!
Palencia is not part of the eight regions of coffee as defined by Anacafé (the National Association of Coffee in Guatemala), but you can see a lot of development in the zone, and this farm is a perfect example of that development. As a coffee buying business, we've always liked being in places that are working to be hot and up-and-coming, as well as those that are established players. Over time El Limon has become one of our favourite Hasrelationships, and back in 2013, they were the first producers that we ever bought from directly in Guatemala.
The dedication and care devoted to each step of production is reflected in the fact that the family operates their own wet mill, so that they can separate different lots and have control over the quality of the coffee. They are able to process many lots simultaneously and keep separate days' pickings, processes, and varietals in their own parcels. The wet mill also benefits the local community as neighbours within the region of Palencia also bring their coffees to the mill to be processed.
They have had the mill on-site since the very beginning but it's very much an ongoing project and they recently invested in a rebuild, alongside the construction of a QC laboratory, a new warehouse, and accommodation for their staff. Beto doesn't want to stand still and is continuing to invest in the farm. You can tell that this is a farm on top of their game. Whenever we visit, all questions are dispatched with exactly the right answer and every suggestion is listened to and taken on board.
When farms are processing a coffee, they use a depulping machine that removes the cherry and most of the mucilage. There is a setting on this machine that adjusts how close to the bean it cleans, and therefore how much of the fruit is left behind. The farms Raul works with in Guatemala have, when doing honey processing, typically used a middle setting (Red Honey). However, Raul wanted to try a Black Honey.
In Costa Rica, where those coffees are most often produced, this would mean leaving all the mucilage and just taking off the fruit skin. However, when Black Honey's produced in Guatemala, the farmers open the depulper very wide.
Some of the cherries have had the skin removed whilst a few have been left intact. This means it's kind of a hybrid Black Honey x Natural Process. These were then left on patios for thirteen days, which is about the same amount of time that they use to dry their washed coffees.
Take a fig roll and dip it in dark chocolate! Raisin notes mix with the fig whilst the dark chocolate swing into brown sugar on the finish.
- Country: Guatemala
- Region: Palencia
- Farm: San Patricio El Limon
- Farmer: Guadalupe Alberto 'Beto' Reyes Aguilar
- Altitude: 1,350-1,850 m.a.s.l.
- Farm size: 9 hectares
- San Ramon & Catimor
- Processing method: Black Honey x Natural
Fig roll, dark chocolate, raisin
- Clean cup: (1–8): 6
- Sweetness: (1–8): 6.5
- Acidity: (1–8): 6
- Mouthfeel: (1–8): 6.5
- Flavour: (1–8): 6.5
- Aftertaste: (1–8): 6
- Balance: (1–8): 7
- Overall: (1–8): 6.5
- Correction: (+36): +36
- Total: (max. 100): 87
Medium-Dark to Dark – make sure to get enough development on this coffee to get the chocolate notes and full body properly developed, finishing the roast just on the edge of second crack..