- Producer Arlam Aguirre & Yoesmi Martinez
- Attributes washed, caturra, borbon
- Origin Huehuetenango, Guatemala
- Flavours maple syrup, fruit tisane, oolong, complex
After delighting you with Prudencio Pablo Mendoz (which sold out in record time), we knew we had to pull one out of the bag to keep the momentum..
INTRODUCING: husband and wife team Arlam Aguirre and Yoesmi Martinez!
Arlam and Yoesmi are members of a very special co-operative of smallholders who are working collectively to farm more ecologically, improve coffee quality and access final buyers. We are the first importers to purchase directly from the group. ASIAST: Asociación Integral Agrícola Sostenible Toneca (Toneca is a colloquial
adjective for San Antonio Huista where the co-op has its headquarters.). ASIAST has even featured in news articles as being the first co-operative of the region to sell micro-lots directly to the final buyer!
We have purchased coffee from these folks for several years actually (it was identified as Yoesmi’s in the past), but we first met Arlam in his capacity as an ANACAFE technico as he toured with us and introduced us to small producers of the Asiast association before he himself was a member!
Here is some more of their story: Yoesmi had a plot of land inherited from her family, Arlam and Yoesmi wanted to focus on specialty coffee differentiated by quality, and Arlam had the skills. With Yoesmi’s dad looking on with concern, they nonetheless started paying workers 50% more than the going rate to only pick ripe cherries and by following extremely careful processing technique. Long story short, their success in selling to us in 2019 has not only fuelled their further commitment to quality but also led to Yoesmi’s father asking them to manage his larger farm as well.
Arlam and Yoesmi have a long-term plan of converting the farm to fully organic to invest in their health and their family’s health, they want their soil to be healthier and to pay less for chemical inputs. They’ve reduced the times they spray chemical ferts from 3x/yr to 2x/yr, but real challenge will be to build more organic matter on the farm and avoid spraying against disease.
This is one of the juiciest and most complex of Guatemalan coffees we bought this year, demonstrating that there is more to Guatemalan profiles than round and chocolate and sweet (not that there’s anything wrong with those attributes, it’s why we’re there in the first place!)
How it is so? Processing: they start with super ripe cherries, they float them to remove floaters (over-ripes, under-ripes), then de-pulp and leaves to ferment for 2.5 days (they built a shade structure over their fermentation tank to keep temperatures cooler to enable this). After 36 hours they wash off some of the mucilage, add fresh water to tank, and continue the fermentation (all the while monitoring weather/temperature). Drying is standard.
We paid an average of 1350 Quetzales per quintal (100 pounds of parchment) for this coffee. At times throughout harvest, the local rate was around 650Q/quintal, this at a time where cost of production is 700-800Q/quintal. We’ve been loving working with ASIAST (the cooperative to which Arlam and Yoesmi belong) since 2017.