On a cold Sunday morning, Finca La Esperanza, a coffee sourced from Guatemala and sold by Steampunk Coffee, kept me warm. While it may be too icy to go out for a walk, I was more than happy to relax and ponder a new Guatemalan coffee I’ve been trying recently.
Guatemala has been a coffee producing country since the late eighteenth century. Production started to ramp up in the 1850s as Guatemala’s leading crop, indigo, was rendered obsolete by new coloured dyes. At the time, the government distributed coffee seeds to citizens, providing an incentive to start a plantation growing coffee for those interested.
Guatemala has suffered from a number of issues affecting its coffee production capacity, from a coup in the 1950s to a devastating outbreak of coffee leaf rust, also known as Roya, in the early 2010s. With this in mind, coffee still grows in almost every region in the country.
Like many of the producing nations in the Americas, Guatemala has high altitudes across the country. The region in which FInca La Esperanza was grown, Huehuetenago, is known for its heights. This coffee was grown between 1,600 and 1,750 meters above sea level (masl).
The Finca La Esperanza farm faced a labour shortage during the harvest. This was not exclusive to the farm. Pickers were in short supply in Huehuetenago when this coffee was harvested.
Finca La Esperanza is a washed coffee, like many that I have tried recently. This means that the coffee was fermented for some time before being washed and then left out to dry. This process is renowned for its consistency, unlike natural coffees which are more prone to over-fermentation.
The dry grounds of Finca La Esperanza smell like chocolate and hazelnut. I have not had a lot of chocolatey coffees lately, down to my recent fascination with floral Ethiopians, and so this was a welcome surprise. But do not let “chocolate” make you think this coffee is simple. Finca La Esperanza produces a complex and well-balanced cup and chocolate is only one of its components.
The aroma of this coffee was enticing. reminding me of orange and hazelnut. As I started to sip this coffee, I got strong orange citrus notes accompanied by hazelnut. Chocolate made its appearance known throughout the cup but orange and hazelnut remained at the forefront of my palate.
Finca La Esperanza is a sweet coffee, balanced with quite a heavy citrus flavour that accentuates the orange flavours. There is a clear acidity in this coffee, which I find accompanies the coffee well. This coffee has a juicy body, reminiscent of jam. One of the words I wrote in my notebook when tasting this coffee was “marmalade.” This coffee leaves a pleasant, delicate orange finish.
About This Coffee
Varietal: Bourbon, caturra
Tastes: Orange, marmalade, hazelnut, chocolate