Our Coffees Liberacion, Guatemala

Liberacion, Guatemala

Flavours

red grape, dark chocolate, custard cream

Roast ? We hand-roast our coffees in batches to develop the natural flavours and aromas - dark roasts give richer, chocolatey notes, whereas lighter roasts allow fruity, zesty flavours to come through.

Medium roast

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Centuries ago, a warrior tribe ruled the land this coffee grows on. This coffee is named after them – Timana. It’s packed full of fruity flavours, with a rounded body. Grown by a smallholder co-operative in Colombia, our partners since 2003.

This coffee is a melange produced by smallholder co-operatives in Huehuetenango, Northern Guatemala Highlands. We work with all four co-operatives, which are owned and managed by these smallholder producers and also assists the farmers at every stage of coffee production.Two of these co-operatives are located in La Libertad and two in Todos Santos,each is comprised of about 50-70 farmers (total 150 producers) each farming 0.5H of land, with about 4000 coffee trees. Only farmers above 1500mASL are invited to join the organization to ensure the highest quality is selected. The farmers prepare their coffee to pergamino; samples are cupped by trained cuppers and we work with them to select the best lots for our coffee. Farmers are given feedback following cupping on how to further improve quality through attention to post harvest processing. Less than 50% of each small producers coffee is purchased to ensure the quality is a highly selective process. Farmers sell the remaining 50% to the local market.

Meeting with farmers in 2010 they explained how membership of their Co-operative brings benefits. They get fertilizer and farm inputs, training in agronomy and say that working together has helped them to be sustainable. The co-op provides a healthcare clinic and loans for the secondary level education of their children. The regions of La Libertad and Todos Santos are famous for producing some of the finest coffees in Guatemala, placing high in Cup of Excellence. However, these small producers have experienced some of the most extreme levels of poverty in Guatemala because in 2000 many abandoned their coffee plantations because of low prices. To attempt to achieve a sustainable price for their coffee these farmers now work with the Slow Food, Salon del Gusto, in Italy. Experienced cuppers assessed the quality of their coffee and awarded it the recognition as a Presidium. The coffee is described as “Baluarte” a special produce that has a particular organoleptic characteristic related to the people, culture and the environment.

The Slow Food protocols defined according to environmental, social and economic rules
1) Only Arabica
2) Altitude above 1500mASL
3) No pesticides, chemicals, only manual removal of weeds. Not to work against the environment. No litter or rubbish dumped on the farms.
4) Take care of each plant correctly.
5) Children must go to school. During harvest season children are at school till noon then help families pick coffee in the field.

Also the school vacation is set Nov-Jan which coincides with the harvest. If the season extends longer then school is delayed accordingly. It is a privilege to spend time with these farmers; they can express their own opinions clearly, and know that working together in their combined efforts produces excellent quality coffee. The oldest member of the co-operative (one of the founders) said back in the 60’s the Administration board didn’t experience good schooling but they knew they wanted to start a co-operative. They had great ideas, but no skills. Some members may still be illiterate still, but they have innate intelligence and manage their co-operative successfully over many years. Now the next generation is faced with new problems – but they are a good team and enthusiastic about that relationship with Union. And we are excited about their coffee. Together we decided to call their coffee ‘liberación’ because it is bringing the freedom to achieve an economically sustainable life.

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