Insta-tour of Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Jan. 13, 2016

Here’s a mini-travelogue from our Instagram feed with a few moments from Tom’s recent trip to Guatemala. Check out our Instagram to see more photos of travel, hounds, coffee leaves, coffee book pages, motorcycles, etc.

And thus we see the challenge of the Pacamara coffee variety. Not only is this large bean hybrid ( Pacas X Maragogyoe ) a bit genetically unstable, it also produces a range of fruit and seed sizes that make processing so hard. In the wet mill it is easy to damage the bean in the pulper, because it's so hard to decide what size to adjust for (16 screen? 19 screen? 21 screen?) In the dry mill the range of screen sizes, density and shapes, some with a characteristic canoe-like curve to the profile, pushes the limits of machine adjustments as well. In fact, a lot of aspects of coffee quality come down to mundane details like this, but they have a direct effect on the value of the coffee, and therefore the livelihood of the farmers. And in an era when the fundamental promises of specialty coffee are failing under the pressures of leaf rust disease and spread of broca pest in a warming climate, who really needs to complicate things more with wacky varieties that don't yield much coffee, tax the resources in processing, throw defect cups from inconsistencies, and in the field often regress to their genetic parent types? I try to balance the idea that coffee is supposed to be fun ( really, it's just coffee after all!) with the fact it is income that pays school fees and food and fixes machines and leaky roofs for farmers. Those things aren't so trivial. And paying our employees a good wage and making sure they have good insurance and such …also not trivial. Pacamara, you're looking a bit like the jerky guest at the party

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