In this month's subscription, we are comparing two different coffees with the same varietals but from different origins - Colombia and Guatemala. This is part of the Surprise subscription’s aim - to pair coffees that provide an interesting contrast.
Finca La Falda, Colombia
Born in Urrao, Antioquia to coffee producer parents, Jose Arcadio Caro Rueda has long been connected to coffee. Since purchasing his own plot of land to grow coffee, amongst other crops; he and his wife, Marbeluz, and teenage son, Santiago, tend to 9500 trees, consisting of the Caturra varietal (known locally as Caturro Chirozo). The farm in its entirety is 10 hectares, but only 3 of these are dedicated to coffee - Jose also grows a variety of other crops, such as corn, beans and tomatoes. Therefore, La Falda only produces about 55 bags of coffee a year.
Jose Arcadio Rueda is no stranger to coffee contests. In 2013, La Falda placed 7th in the Colombia Cup of Excellence. This was a proud moment not just for Jose, but also the Antioquia department, which is a major player in Colombia’s coffee production, but had yet to place in the top ten for the Cup of Excellence contest.
For Jose, he does not intend to compete in the Cup of Excellence program again, instead believing in upholding the reputation of La Falda by offering quality coffee at fair and sustainable prices.
This varietal is a natural mutation of Caturra. It grew to fame in the 2014 Cup of Excellence, when Doña Carmen Cecilia Montoya from Bella Vista, Antioquia won using the same variety. It has since caught on with other farmers with a similar penchant for quality coffee.
San Antonio Chaguite, Guatemala
The Perez family has been one of our direct-from-origin producers since 2014, and we are delighted to present our sixth harvest with them this year. The San Antonio Chaguite farm sits at the highest elevation amongst the Family Bonds Coffee farms, at 1950 metres above sea level.
Finca San Antonio Chaguite is one farm out of six in Family Bonds Coffee, a family-owned business that strives at harvesting, processing, and distributing unique varieties. Guatemala benefits from high altitudes and unique microclimates. There is constant rainfall and mineral-rich soil in most regions, which is suitable for producing coffee. Huehuetenango sits on the highest and driest coffee producing region, and is protected from frost as it experiences dry and hot winds, allowing coffees to be grown on high elevations. The Huehuetenango region also has an almost boundless amount of rivers and streams, a very important resource in washing coffees.
The Caturra varietal is a mutation of the Bourbon varietal. This natural mutation causes the coffee plant to be smaller than the other coffee plants. Though small in size, it is still a favourite amongst coffee producers. Its size allows more crops to be grown closer together, resulting in higher yield during harvesting.
This natural processed Caturra varietal started out as a special request from us. We thoroughly enjoyed the washed version and its layered complexity, and wanted to understand how applying a different drying process would alter the flavour profile. Natural processed coffees often result in a fruit-forward cup due to the fermentation of sugars during the drying process. This year, we are lucky to be able to taste the Caturra natural’s complex and clean profile again.