Name: El Durazno
Producer: The Ventura Family
Origin: San Pedro, Pinula, Jalapa
Altitude: 1500-1700 metres above sea level
Process: White Honey
Flavours: Brown Sugar, White Peach & Caramel
Cup Score: 86
Harvest: November- April (Arrived Uk: 24/05/2021)
Importer: The Coffee Bird
Where is it from?
Coffee production has been intertwined with Guatemala’s socio-political fabric since around 1845, when the Commission for Coffee Cultivation and Promotion was established, though there are reports of coffee being cultivated in the country as early as the mid-eighteenth century, having been introduced by Jesuit priests. Alike El Salvador, during the 1850’s, coffee came to supplement the reduced demand for indigo as chemical dyes became introduced to the market. When Justo Ruffino Barrios came to power in 1971, he concentrated much of his economic regeneration plans on coffee production, and large swathes of land – up to 400,000 hectares – became coffee plantations. Production soared and by 1880, coffee contributed roughly ninety-per-cent of the country’s exports.
However, the negative impact of this surge in production was the displacement of indigenous people, as Barrios appropriated “public” land to make way for the plantations. Many of the those displaced were put to work as seasonal labourers on the new plantations, often working in return for food and shelter, and with few rights. In the two hundred years that have followed, the situation with the employment of indigenous people on coffee estates has improved, but in many areas where large numbers of seasonal and sometimes daily contractors work during harvest season, wages below the $2.48 national minimum rural wage are commonplace. It is estimated that in a harvest season, the money earned could only contribute to as little as one third of a family’s corn and bean calorie requirements. Poverty and malnutrition are big problems in Guatemala, with sources such as USAID estimating that upwards of 50% of the population live in poverty, and 20% in extreme poverty.
Organisations like Fair Trade are having a positive impact in helping to keep producers on small to mid-size farms on their land and the in-built premiums that are offered often help send children to school, pay for medical bills and provide food for families. However, FT coffees make up only a small percentage of farmer’s total production and often get sold for less than the minimum FT certification price due to lack of demand.
The Ventura family have been growing coffee for over five generations. The coffee farming tradition began when their grandfather started growing coffee in 1894, at a farm called Finca Rabanales. Over a hundred years later, the family purchased Finca El Durazno in 2012. Rafael & Maria Elena are two of the five proprietors of the farm and are active in its management.
In 2012, Finca El Durazno did not have a single coffee plant as the land was mainly used for forestry. Although the Ventura family have been coffee farming for over 120 years, coffee was first planted on the farm during the 2013-2014 harvest.
2018 was the farm’s first normal production harvest. The changing climate proved challenging, with the stress of the plants resulting in a lower yield. It rained a lot, which also led to more fungus and leaf rust. The main challenge for the season was to pick the coffee at its optimal Brix level.
When we asked Rafael what differences he noticed at Finca El Durazno compared to the other family farms, replied that he had to forget everything he knew about coffee and start fresh. What he loves about coffee is that there is always something to learn.
During the harvest, after coffee picking is finished (around 4 pm), the freshly picked and sorted coffee is loaded into a truck. The truck travels to Finca Rabanales for processing. The truck arrives around 1-2 am, and the cherries rest overnight. At 7 am, the coffee is immediately pulped, and passes through a de-mucilager to remove the excess mucilage. The freshly washed coffee parchment then moves to the
patio via a channel.
It is then dried in the sun for an average of 8 to 13 days. The coffee is checked using a moisture reader. Once it reaches its ideal moisture level, it is packed and stored in its warehouse. When the weather is drizzly, there is a guardiola or dryer on site. If the dryer is utilised, the coffee is dried at 24-35 degrees Celsius. The process is a mix of using thedryers and resting for a few hours, and then heating up again.
However, in 2020 all coffee was sun dried on patios.
Filter & Espresso