Most look to western Guatemala for coffee, but there is something exciting to offer from the heart of the country. Exporter Volcanes Coffee has been exploring new frontiers for specialty coffee and discovered a region on the road less traveled north-east of Guatemala City in the department of El Progreso. The region has a rich history of small farming communities where coffee is cultivated on small farms that average 3 acres in size. A group of 225 producers in the municipality of San Antonio La Paz have focused their efforts on improving farm management and cherry harvesting practices. With little to no processing infrastructure for processing at the farmers, Volcanes Coffee provides a centrally located collection point where farmers can easily deliver their cherry. From there, the cherry is transported to La Esperanza, a mill with its own storied history of receiving and processing cherry. Fermentation tanks at La Esperanza, located in an enclosed building, are often heated with the same forced air used to heat the mechanical dryers to maintain a relatively consistent 36-hour fermentation protocol despite sporadically cold conditions in Antigua. Coffee is washed mechanically after fermentation and then pumped to a silo to remove water and pre-dry. Water is well managed and properly treated. The mill is equipped with patios and mechanical dryers (guardiolas) that are used in a two step process, first with gently drying on patios for a period of 2 weeks and then precisely finished to 11 percent moisture with the mechanical driers. Dried parchment is taken to San Isabel, a dry mill in Guatemala City. San Isabel is equipped with multiple pieces of equipment to sort green coffee typical in most dry mills, such as gravity beds, screens and electronic eyes. The mill also has a piece of equipment called a catadora, which is placed immediately after the dehuller and operates like a wind channel to remove broken and less dense coffee beans. Mild weather in Guatemala City provides ideal conditions for storing parchment in the warehouse until it is time to export. The processing experience brought to bear by Volcanes Coffee has really made this newly discovered regional profile shine.