Guatemala Los Jocotales Black Honey x Natural

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In the cup I'm hit by cocoa powder, like the kind you get dusted on fancy chocolates - bitter but in a good dark chocolate kinda way. Then come the sugars ... brown sugar at the start, but it turns darker into muscovado sugar on the finish, alongside a delicate waft of funk.

£6.40

DETAILS

This coffee's farm is located in a region that is well known for some of the most interesting coffees – as well as some of the most renowned coffees – in Guatemala, Antigua.

It is produced by Alex Illescas, and he grows it on his grandfather's farm. His grandfather owned the farm for just over 50 years, working the land and selling the cherry along as a commodity coffee because he had no mill with which to process his own coffee. The farm is located at 1,400 metres above sea level in Ciudad Vieja.

Alex had an idea that he wanted to produce amazing, interesting and challenging coffee for the specialty market. So, with the blessing of his grandfather and with help from his uncle, he used the farm to experiment with varietals and processing methods to see what might improve cup quality. This coffee is the result of those experiments. It's dangerous to do something like this, so the lots are small – but they're large enough that this could have caused financial hardship if something had gone wrong. The lucky thing is that, in the cup, this gamble has really paid off.

The processing method for this coffee is a hybrid of black honey processing and natural processing that we first saw on El Limon. My good friend in Guatemala, Raul, is also good friends with Alex, so I think there might have been a little knowledge sharing going on!

When they are processing a coffee, farmers use a depulping machine that removes the cherry and most of the mucilage. There is a setting on this machine which 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 these are most often produced, this would mean leaving all the mucilage and just taking off the fruit skin. However, when they have done the black honey process in Guatemala, they have opened the depulper very wide, and some of the cherries have had the skin removed whilst a few have been left intact. I guess 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.

When I visited Alex I could see how excited he was, and I could see how proud he was about the coffee. All the time I was there I was praying the coffee would be as good as the story, and I'm pleased to report that it's even better.

In the cup I'm hit by cocoa powder, like the kind you get dusted on fancy chocolates – bitter but in a good dark chocolate kinda way. Then come the sugars ... brown sugar at the start but it turns darker into muscovado sugar on the finish, alongside a delicate waft of funk.

  • Country: Guatemala
  • Region: Antigua
  • City: Cuidad Vieja
  • Farm: Los Jocotales
  • Farmer: Alex Illescas
  • Altitude: 1,400 m.a.s.l.
  • Varietal: Bourbon, Caturra & Catuai
  • Processing System: Black Honey x Natural

CUPPING NOTES

Cocoa powder, brown sugar, muscovado sugar, funk.

Clean Cup: (1-8): 6
Sweetness: (1-8): 7
Acidity: (1-8): 6
Mouthfeel: (1-8): 6
Flavour: (1-8): 7
Aftertaste: (1-8): 7
Balance: (1-8): 6
Overall: (1-8): 6
Correction: (+36): +36

Total: (max 100): 87

Roasting Information
Medium Dark - anywhere from just before to just into 2nd crack.

"Quick Look" Guide
Cocoa powder, brown sugar, muscovado sugar, funk.

Guatemala Los Jocotales Black Honey x Natural Guatemala Los Jocotales Black Honey x Natural Guatemala Los Jocotales Black Honey x Natural Guatemala Los Jocotales Black Honey x Natural
brown sugar, Cocoa powder, funk, muscovado sugar,