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Guatemala Nueva Granada - Mr Higgins Recommends

I have always loved the social nature of coffee. Whether it's being out with friends and enjoying a cup, or just at home with family. Coffee brings people together in many ways. The joy of being in this business is that I get to meet so many different people. Even if they don’t know it, all of them are connected to one another.

As a roaster, I get to develop the flavours from the beans we source from many different farms and co-operatives across 4 continents. Since travel became so difficult, it has been a while since I met any of our farmers. But the person relationships within the coffee business have never been stronger.

Guatemala Nueva Granada

My father and I first met Dieter and Holly Nottebohm in London in 2002. We were attending an event promoting Rainforest Alliance Certified coffees. Dieter and Holly own and run the Finca Nueva Granada in Guatemala. For the last 19 years, they have been supplying us with their finest coffee beans.

Dieter’s family have a long historical connection with Guatemalan coffee, dating back to the 1800s. They were part of the development of the export industry from its infancy. When we met them, we were impressed with their passion. They take a lot of care, not only in the coffee itself, but to support the local economy and their employees and their families.

"In Duke Street, I meet customers from all over the world and from different cultures. All of them bound together by their love of coffee."

The farm introduced a primary school for the permanent workers with a library and they share a  secondary school with neighbouring farms. They also have a health care clinic for vaccinations, and basic health needs, and they donate to local social and medical centres in the nearby town.

The farm provides water to 4 neighbouring settlements. Water is piped free of charge to around 5,000 people. All water used in the coffee mill is recycled and they have installed solar panels to reduce their impact on local electricity usage.

As a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm, they follow sustainable guidelines on the use of fertilizers. To reduce waste, the coffee cherry pulp is used as a compost. The coffee is all shade grown, partly under macadamia trees. Since joining the Rainforest Alliance, Dieter and Holly have planted of over 30,000 additional trees on their land. The farm is fed by local springs and all of the land by the streams is left uncut to provide wildlife corridors.

The location of the farm itself is spectacular. It is situated in San Marcos, over 1,400m above sea level. The farm is overlooked by the two tallest volcanos in Guatemala, Tajumulco and Tacana and in the hazy sunlight, the volcanoes appear blue. The volcanic soil and the high altitude provide the perfect conditions for producing top quality coffee. The cherries are all harvest by hand between December and March each year. We will receive each new crop each year in late Spring, and have just taken delivery the fresh consignment.

Guatemala Nueva Granada is a mix of bourbon, cataui and caturra varietals, all of which grow naturally in Guatemala. Only the red cherries are picked. They are pulped and washed before drying in the sun. This washed process gives the beans a very clean flavour with some light acidity. The fruit flavours we develop by roasting slowly to a light colour. This ensures we retain the malic, pear-like acidity and create the fruity top notes of kiwi and apricot with a slightly nutty aftertaste.

It is a real pleasure to be able to sell this coffee, knowing how much good is done at origin. Life for all those involved in the coffee production process in Guatemala can be difficult, now more so than ever. Long may our relationship continue.

David Higgins

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