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If you don’t know you’re in a coffee field it’s because you’re swept up in the panorama before you: hazy blue volcanic lakes merging into hazy blue sky. If it’s hard to breathe it’s because the air here is Denver-thin.
Carlos, meanwhile, ducks underneath a shrubby tree. He emerges a few minutes later with a wicker basket full of what look like green and red gum balls. The field is not what it first seems: scrub brush and mountain trees throw shade on Bourbon coffee plants.
Carlos’ blood uses oxygen efficiently. His genes are predisposed to the altitude, having descended from Mayans who built stone pyramids on mountainsides.
Like Carlos, the coffee trees here have adapted to life at 1700 meters above sea level. The trees have been selected over time, cultivated to grow coffee with notes of stone fruit, almond, brown sugar, and toffee notes. The hardiest of these coffee trees will be grafted onto mature rootstock. In this way crops are made resilient over time. High altitude, with cold nights and hot days, produces a ‘super hard bean’ and this sugar density lends to its smoothness.
Producer: CODECH Cooperatives; [kodetʃ]
Taste Notes: Satiny smooth with brown sugar, berry, almond and toffee notes
Region: Huehuetenango, Guatemala
Altitude: 1,000-2,000 MASL