Producer: Jorge Ovalle Mendez
Varietal: Caturra & Bourbon
Altitude: 1432-1828 metres above sea level
Flavours: Plum, Peach & Grapefruit
Cup Score: 86
Importer: Coffee Bird
Where is it from?
Huehuetenango is often referred to as “Huehue.” Pronunciation guide: The “Hue” is pronounced like the “whe” in where. “Whe-whe”
With altitudes over 2,000 metres, Huehue is the highest and driest region of Guatemala. It is only one of three regions without volcanic
soil. Historically, it has been one of the more remote areas of the country and accessibility has been challenging. In the past, many farmers have used oxen or have carried their coffees on their back. Huehuetenango enjoys easy access to water sources, enabling many
producers to process their coffee.
Guatemala is a country that has 12 different Mayan dialects and in many towns, people don’t speak Spanish. The challenges in working
with smaller groups are sometimes the language barrier. Also, many small villages still have a bit of a self-policing and don’t permit strangers into their towns/properties. So all of our introductions into Huehuetenango have been through connections.
The biggest challenge for the 2019 harvest across Huehuetenango was finding pickers. Farms have normally been able to count on their
own region's pickers, however, this year many migrated to the USA. Farms had to operate with a reduced number of pickers, or if they
were able, to bring in pickers from El Quiche. For example, a farm that would normally count on 40 pickers had to rely on 10. This meant
that farmers needed to change their approach to picking - so sorting was crucial to maintaining quality.
Jorge Ovalle Mendez founded San Antonio de Esquipulas in 1965. The name is devout to the ‘Cristo Negro’: Black Christ of Esquipulas, and Saint Anthony of Padua or San Antonio de Padua.
Ever since the farm was founded, it has always grown coffee. Jorge is always innovating his technique to improve cup quality. His processing techniques are more similar to those employed in Costa Rica.
The farm is made up of a great team of people who, with over 30 years of experience, are constantly learning new practices and techniques to become better coffee producers.
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