Introduction by Chris Kornman

San Pedro Necta is a municipality located within the Huehuetenango growing region of northern Guatemala. Affectionately referred to as Huehue (pronounced “whey-whey”) and sometimes simply abbreviated HHT, the region is among the more sought-after coffee growing regions in the country. Generally higher elevations and later harvest periods with slightly cooler temperatures tend to yield higher than average qualities from established estates. The region itself is just across the border from Chiapas, Mexico, and is quite remote compared to the more accessible Guatemalan regions like Acatenango and Antigua.

This Crown Jewel comes from Finca La Providencia, a farm owned and operated by Maximiliano Palacios, a third generation coffee farmer. The heart of La Providencia is a beautifully maintained mill that begins at a highpoint on the sloped property, designed to take full advantage of gravity, where the ripe cherries are placed in water and carried through the depulping process on a series of intricate canals to the drying patios below. The coffee comes to us under the moniker “Palhu,” a combination of the family name Palacios and the name of the department of Huehuetenango.

Maxamiliano is passionate, not just about his coffee, but about all coffee from the region, calling it the “lifeblood of Huehuetenango.” We feel pretty passionate about it too. The coffee raised eyebrows at the cupping table with its balanced acidity and smooth sweetness.

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman

A mix of classic American varieties are presented here including Bourbon, Caturra, Catuaí, and Mundo Novo. Heirloom Bourbon, the parent cultivar of much of the coffee grown in the Western Hemisphere, was first found and cultivated on Reunion Island. After its transport to the new world, it began to take on new characteristics. A mutation eventually called Caturra was first observed in Brazil, noted for its short stature and resistance to wind and rain. Another spontaneously occurring cultivar called Mundo Novo first appeared as a cross of Bourbon and Typica. For the final cultivar included in the “Palhu” coffee, Catuaí, humans got involved and crossed Mundo Novo with Caturra to create another dwarf tree with higher yield when properly fertilized.

Each of these cultivars are free from the Robusta genetics commonly seen in lower grown or higher resistance hybrids attempting to use variants of Hibrido de Timor to combat the Leaf Rust epidemic that has devastated Central American harvests in recent years. Prized for their good flavor, these varieties have taken a severe hit, and we’re only now beginning to see farms bounce back from the far-reaching effects of the fungal disease.

This lot also presents a classic example of good European Prep standards. “Palhu” is relatively dense and precision dried. It should handle predictably in the roaster and retain its flavors when held under good storage conditions for plenty of time to come.

Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca

So much fun to roast this fresh crop Guatemalan coffee. Both roasts were delicious and illustrate how flexible this coffee is. Our first roast was shorter by a minute in overall roast time and also had a slightly longer drying time than our second roast which was achieved by turning up the heat well after (1:11 seconds) after turn around. This created a shorter time during the Maillard stage and post crack development which made the fruit acids really pop. During roast two, I increased the overall time, but decreased the drying time by turning on the heat sooner by 32 seconds, but a quarter turn less hot. Although yellowing occurred within 14 seconds of each other, this lower heat adjustment resulted in a longer Maillard stage and longer post crack development time.

Roast one (green): apple, peach, papaya, pear, caramel

Roast two (yellow): maple syrup, floral, honeydew, vanilla

Brew Analysis by Chris Kornman

We put our trusty Bonavita Brewers back to work with this tasty Guatemala. Both at the cupping table and as drip coffee, the panel expressed near-unanimous preference for Jen’s first roast, PR-644. Its sweet citrus and mild floral notes outscored the longer roast’s deep fudgy body.

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