Introduction by Chris Kornman

This coffee is sourced from a family-owned estate located within the municipality of Santa Cruz Barillas, in the department of Huehuetenango, Guatemala.

Finca Severa was established by Dr. Carlos Roberto Serrano Roa in 1969 and named after his mother Severa. Over the last three decades, Dr. Serrano and his family have developed 111 of the 135 acre estate for coffee cultivation and preserved the remaining portion with natural forest and a pristine water that is used for processing coffee.

Finca La Severa has its own mill where cherry selection, depulping, fermentation, and drying are meticulously executed.  Wastewater is treated before it is returned to the environment and coffee pulp is converted into organic fertilizer and returned to the coffee plants. Great care is taken to provide housing, healthcare, education and social activities to those who work at the estate because the remoteness of the Finca La Severa makes these essential amenities an important part of ensuring a dignified quality of life at the estate.

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman

This coffee is a unique coffee from a physical perspective for a few reasons – the fairly large screen size for a Huehuetenango (almost 40% above screen 18) doesn’t seem to affect the density adversely, which is above average. Oddly, despite a very normal looking 11.2% moisture reading, my water activity results measured somewhat high across multiple readings. Whatever this might say about the quality of the coffee, it most certainly affected the way it responded in the roaster; read on below.

Roast Analysis by Chris Kornman

This was unequivocally a strange coffee to roast. During both of my roasts this coffee took its sweet time to develop during Maillard phase, and had a somewhat higher than normal first crack and drop temperature. In a lot of ways, despite the average moisture reading, the coffee reminded me of roasting a fairly wet lot; my theory is that the higher water activity of this coffee had a somewhat pronounced effect on the Maillard and post-crack development.

Of the two roasts, our cupping panel unanimously preferred the second (PR-252, green below), which was slightly shorter and slightly lighter (60.95 ColorTrack, so really not all that light). I made a conscious effort to spend a good percentage of the roast caramelizing sugars after first crack. (High water activity coffees, in theory, should respond well to this sort of treatment. If you’d care to read more about water activity and its implications for green coffee, look no further than my recent article here.)

In either case, the coffee is uncommon as green, during the roast, and on the cupping table. I enjoyed it’s unique savory character, syrupy mouthfeel, and stout-like sweetness… but if you’re looking for a classic Huehuetenango, this coffee undeniably defies convention.

Brew Analysis by Chris Kornman

I informally brewed the second roast, PR-0252, in both a Chemex and Kalita wave, to similar results. I’ve been getting some pretty heavy brews lately, making me wonder about the possibility of a change in the mineral content of our water or perhaps a need to calibrate our grinder. In either case, the coffee tasted nice at a high extraction percentage in both brews; the Kalita lending a nice heft and the Chemex accenting an almost Kenya-like acidity.


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This coffee is available in full size bags as well. Contact Us to find out more.