Region: La Joya Larga, Palencia, Fraijanes Plateau Region, Guatemala
Farm: Finca La Pia
Farmer/Grower: Victor Calderon
Varieties: Bourbon & Caturra
Altitude: 1700-1800 m.a.s.l.
Density: 1.20 g/ml
Harvest Date: February, 2022
Arrival Date: August, 2022
SCA Cupping Score: 84.38
most recently in 2020 with a score of over 87 points.
which is part of Fraijanes Plateau Region. Coffee at Finca La Pia is grown at approximately 1,700 to 1,800 meters above sea level.
The “La Aurora” lot is sorted by cupping each of the picking days on the farm. The highest cupping day-lots and nano-lots are separated to build the La Aurora lot.
Don Victor Calderon is the owner of Finca La Pia and implements a variety of very interesting cultivation techniques. Along similar lines of thought to “dry farms” or “natural wines” in the wine industry, Don Victor believes that the coffee plants should receive as little input as possible and uses only natural or organic methods to manage the plant health. Unlike many coffee farms around the world, Don Victor does not feed trees with fertilizers and instead uses a California red worm compost, manure and nitrogen fixating plants to keep the soil healthy. To manage the coffee leaf rust, “la roya”, Victor does not use typical sprays but instead applies bentonite clay, which is found naturally in the soil on the farm, on to the coffee leaves. This practice, combined with the organic plant nutrition management yields highly resistant coffee trees with great quality potential!
The Calderon family has been involved in coffee for nearly 140 years! Victor’s great-great-grandfather Don Florencio Calderon acquired a farm by the Guatemalan coast in 1885. This coastal farm focused on volume production, and Don Florencio’s descendants kept this business model for many generations. The Calderon family in descending order from Don Florencio, Don Marcos his son, Victor his grandson, Marcos, his great-grandson (and father of the current Victor Calderon) have been in coffee for almost all of Guatemala’s coffee history. Along the way, there have been different professions, but the family has always returned to coffee. For example, Victor’s grandfather, Don Victor senior, collaborated with Dr. Rodolfo Robles in discovering the microfilaria parasite that is transmitted by mosquito bites in some regions of Africa and Central America, and that causes a disease that renders the patient blind. Field work took place in their coffee plantations in Guatemala.
As interesting as the family’s long coffee history may be, it has been kept alive by the vision of Don Victor Calderon who noticed the changing trends in the coffee industry and let go of the coastal mass coffee production to specialize in high quality specialty coffees. The coastal farms, being more suitable for rubber plantations, were soon turned to 100% rubber cultivation. Don Victor acquired La Pia in 2000 and has focused on cultivating specialty coffee ever since. The farm, as well as producing coffee, is also producing avocado, and some other native fruits to the area. By diversifying the plantation, Don Victor has achieved an interesting balance that allows for a very efficient and productive land.
Being on a dramatic and steep hillside, Finca La Pia is also only planted with coffee in areas that allow for easy and safe movement for the pickers and farm workers. The other half of the farm is steep slopes, rocky terrain and thus left untouched. It is certified by the Guatemalan Institute for forest protection, and registered as a natural reserve, which gives the farm an enclosure that only thick natural forest can provide.
I roasted this one medium-dark. This is a great bean that I think will appeal to many palates and is versatile in its use as espresso, with lattes, etc. I can also see this being a great base for a blend.
This coffee has been really boosting up blends that we have tasted but also is standing really strongly on its own. A super approachable and versatile coffee for sure.
I am going to pick this one for my winter brew. It tasted much darker than I expected for this roast level. Still had plenty of spices like cinnamon. Maple syrup and caramel. I was disappointed on how dark it tasted but I found myself coming back for more and craving it the next day. At this level, great for cream and sugar lovers and great black. I will try a few more roasts at different levels but I feel this is pretty close to what I will choose for my Winter Brew this year.