El Bosque sits on a hillside that runs parallel to the main road to Guatemala City not far from the beautiful Lake Amatitlán and only a few miles from the town of Amatitlán. Due to its proximity to the capital, it faces threats from ever-expanding urban development. However, during the time we have been working with El Bosque, prices and returns for the farm have made it a much higher concern for the owners, and they are very motivated.
Before we'd tried this coffee at El Bosque, it was love at first taste, we were absolutely blown away by how good it was! However, our first visit to the farm in January 2007 really cemented this, because we got to learn more about the awesome people behind the coffee.
Originally a larger farm, in 1929 it was split between two parts of the family, who both call their farms El Bosque - our coffee comes from Francisco Flores and his brothers. Located in the Anacafe (Guatemalan national coffee body) Antigua region, this traditional farm is managed by just 5 full-time workers and grows coffee under the shade of the verdant native trees which give the farm it’s name – The Forest.
Although traditionally planted with Bourbon, they have also planted some Pache, some Caturra and some Catuai. The quality of these hasn't been quite as good as the Bourbon, but having a bit of variety on the farm is a good practical choice, as each varietal has it's own strengths and weaknesses as a plant.
The farm employs 5 workers year round (who live locally) and an additional 20 or so for the harvest. The wetmill for processing the coffee cherries was added later and is now on a piece of land near the main road. Coffee is taken down my road to be depulped, washed and dried before moving it to the warehouse for storage.
Fun fact - the team at El Bosque have also branched out into cultivating plants other than coffee for local consumption including avocados, roses and lemons - we bet they'd make some of the best avo toast around!