Farm: Gabino Mendez Family (Aguas Altas and Jocotales lots)
Variety/Cultivar: Bourbon, Caturra
Altitude: 1700 masl
From the importer...
We've known the Mendez family for many years, and as they're very close to our family farm in San Pedro Necta we visit often. We are proud to represent them, counting their distinct small lots among our legacy offerings.
Gabino and Gilberto, along with their nephew Francisco, work an entire mountainside side of a mountain in remote Northwest Huehuetenango. While working in coffee alongside family members is not rare in Guatemala, the depth of collaboration and transparency with which they partner is remarkable. Year after year, they share successes and misses, working together to make each other's lots thrive. They operate like a co-op, each member making their contributions.
Gabino, having been a school teacher previous to his coffee career, takes a careful and educated approach to cultivation. Of the three, Gabino is focused most on quality improvements, so he travels to Guatemala City to take courses at Anacafe, learning about innovations in varieties and processing. Recently, he implemented his learning by lengthening the washing channels on their central wet mill to improve processing, and this year's crop showcases brighter, crisper profiles as a result. Another example is shade: Gabino utilizes mostly Chalum shade, as Gravilea trees make the soil more acidic. Chalum leaves biodegrade four times faster than Gravilea leaves, and he and his sons are monitoring the longer-term soil impacts as a result. Francisco Florencio supports his uncles with the water from his ground springs, and Gilberto makes structural improvements around the farm. Gabino's sons have also studied soil science, and support with soil analysis and fertilizer on each lot. The result is that each lot improves significantly and all family members benefit.
This harvest, we worked with the Mendez family to carefully blend lots based on cupping, analysis, and conversation, keeping each member's lots separated to showcase their work. Francisco's small lots, including El Barranco, El Peñazco and La Joyada, create a distinct creamy sweet, caramel and pear profile. Gilberto's Coyegual and Manantiales lots deliver lively, fruity charisma with chocolate depth. Gabino combines the bright tropical fruit of Aguas Altas with the candy bar sweetness of Jocotales to create a refreshing and chuggable coffee. The only lot we kept fully separated is the prized Monte Claro.