Guatemala Finca El Socorro - Direct Trade Coffee

Finca El Socorro Diego De La Cerda

We always like finding new coffee producers to work with.   Often we find a farm to work with who has won an award or to, or at least strives to win awards for quality.  It is very rare to come across some one like Diego De La Cerda and Finca El Socorro who has won THIS many awards and this well known in the world for quality.

Everyone calls Diego De La Cerda the Silver Fox.   And he is.   Diego is the definition of suave.   Not only does he produce some of the best coffee in the world, but he looks cool doing it.

Guatemala Finca El Socorro

Diego runs Both of his farms, El Socorro and Guayaba with a focus on the details. Everything is looked and improved. The results speak loudly to the obsession with quality.  A few of their awards have been:

Finca El Socorro Maracaturra

The variety they grow which has been winning most of these award is a Maracaturra (a cross pollination of Caturra and Maragogype) lot which we are happy to be offering at the end of July.   There is only 300 lbs of this available, so don’t expect it around long.  2 other lots will be available as well: Palo Blanco and Santa Teresa.

Some detailed information on this farm:

Guatemala Finca El Socorro wet mill

El Socorro farm is located in Palencia, municipality of Guatemala department, 50 kilometers away from Guatemala city. The farm used to be part of Hacienda San Guayaba, property of Antonio López Colom in 1905.  After he died, it was inherited to the youngest son Julio Colom Gómez Carillo, who sold it.  For many years it was owned by different people until 1968, when Dr. Mario de la Cerda and his wife Maria Colom de la Cerda bought it back to the family.

Guatemala Finca El Socorro wet mill Yellow Caturra

In 1980, his son Juan de la Cerda Colom began to plant coffee. This is the fourth generation of owners.  Juan de la Cerda and his son Juan Diego are now in charge of producing one of the best coffees of Guatemala.  El Socorro’s success is the result of a strict quality control through out the whole process, from the management of the plantation, to the picking and the wet milling.

The farm has an efficient ecological wet mill. It depulps coffee cherries dry, then transports the coffee and its pulp mechanically and recycles the water in the process. Then, the water is treated with clean production techniques, before allowing it back into the forest.

Costa Rica Santa Rosa, La Lia micro-mill - Direct Trade Coffee

Costa Rica Santa Rosa, La Lia micro-mill - Direct Trade

In February 2012 we again visited Costa Rica to see our friends at Exclusive Coffee as well as our producer partners to choose this years offerings.   This is going to be a very good year for the Costa Rican coffees available from Fratello.  Our most exciting offering is going to be our newest Direct Trade relationship Luis Alberto Monge, the producer/owner of the La Lia Micro-mill who won 5th place in 2011 Cup of Excellence.

During this trip we cupped many lots of coffee in order to find the stand out offerings, and the coffee from the La Lia micro-mill continued to score 89+ points on the cupping table.  It was no surprise that the coffee grown at Luis’s Finca Dragon scored at 90.67, giving him the Presidential award and 2nd place win at this years 2012 Cup of Excellence competition.

Costa Rican Santa Rosa micro lot direct trade

We have a 40 bag micro-lot arriving any week now, which was grown at 1700 meters (5600 feet) on another farm of Luis’s, Finca Santa Rosa.  This was another coffee which continued to score 89+ on this trip.  It is extremely elegant and floral in characteristic.  It is 100% Caturra, fully washed and 100% Sun Dried.  The mechanical mucilage removers uses very little water, and all of the bi-product from this process is reused on the farms to limit the environmental impact.

Costa Rica Santa Rosa Direct Trade sun dried coffee

La Lia is located in the Leon Cortez micro-region of Tarrazu and just outside its capital city, San Marco.  This beautiful little mill which is able to achieve many different processing methods including the fully washed which we purchased, as well as a red & yellow honey process and a small selection of naturals.  The coffee tree nursery is also located at the mill where you will find Geisha, Ethiopian, Typica, Red & Yellow Bourbon and Caturra varietals all being grown.

Costa Rican La Lia micro-mill nursery

La Lia is only 5 years old, but capable of producing 600-700 bags of coffee per year.  This is a lot considering they only have 2-5 workers at any given time making quality control practices easier.  Their high quality coffee starts at the roots of their coffee trees, beginning with proper fertilization.  Luis explained to me that having low calcium in the soil will result in a beautiful looking cherry but that the bean density suffers, resulting in a higher percentage of “Quakers” in the green (bad beans).  By increasing Potassium levels you will begin getting harder beans and also boost flavor and overall bean development.   Luis has been working very closely with Exclusive Coffee to customize the optimal mixture of fertilization to ensure these levels of accuracy. Only when cherries have reached their optimal level of ripeness are they picked and delivered to La Lia for processing.

Costa Rica Santa Rosa Direct Trade ripe coffee cherries

As always, Costa Rica impresses me with their Micro-Mill revolution which continues to expand and improve.  I am seeing better organization, at farm level as well as more dedication to improve quality.  These producers have been getting premiums for their coffee for a few years now and are typically re-investing into their mills for efficiency’s and consistency.  La Lia is going to be a shining star amongst our offerings.  You need to get this before it is gone.

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Latte art training

Fratello has been roasting coffee for over 25 years, but we are more than just a coffee roaster. Our consultants are experienced professionals that will guide you in all aspects of your business. From initial consultations around opening a new location to getting into the details of selecting products and equipment for your business, you have access to our team of coffee professionals through every stage of your investigative/planning stages......and this is all included when you choose to work with us!

One of our consultants will meet with you to discuss all aspects of your coffee program. We will work with you to recommend the right coffee, the right equipment and the right training. From sourcing great coffee to understanding how to store it best, to roasting fresh on demand and showing you how to prepare it right, we are here for you at every step.

espresso grinder

Our professional consultants draw from backgrounds mixing business experience and an intense passion for coffee. During the consulting process, we get to know your prospective or existing business, what customers you are looking to attract and how you want to prepare the coffee. We will show you the equipment options and advise you on what will be best for your space and expected volume.

Fratello has/does compete locally and nationally at coffee competitions and uses this experience in training our accounts on barista skills. For local accounts we will work with you both at our training area at Fratello and in your business in all aspects of beverage preparation.

We offer on-going training and support including areas such as latte art and alternative ways to prepare coffee by the cup in your café or restaurant. This training is included as part of your relationship with Fratello.

We are much more than just a coffee roaster.  We are a trusted team of coffee professionals that are here to share our extensive experience with you.