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Direct Trade Guatemalan Montecristo Rainforest Alliance Estate

January 24, 2010

After 16 hours of traveling from Calgary to Guatemala, Nan, Gerry (of Good Earth Cafes), Chris and myself arrived in the San Marcos region where Neuva Granada Estate is located.  At the highest elevation of 5200 feet, you will find a micro lot of 100% Bourbon coffee called Montecristo.  This small lot of coffee is exclusively prepared for Fratello Coffee in the North American market.

After spending a few days with Johann and his wife Holly Nottebohm I come away with a renewed energy towards supporting there coffee.  Johann is a 3rd generation coffee farmer who has been committed to the quality of not only the coffee they grow, but also the life styles of their workers and community around them.  This farm is meticulously keeping up with, and surpassing the standards of Rainforest Alliance certification.

When we last visited this estate, we saw first hand the activities and investments Johann was doing to improve the lives of their workers, but this time, we got to see how far his progress has come.  Not only does he have free health care and school for the 60 children that live full time on the estate (grades 1-6 as well as computer class), he is almost ready to open his 3rd class room which will host grades 7-9.  What excites us the most is that he is now going to open these classes up to the families that do not live on the farm.  This proves his commitment to continually improve the community which lives around the estate.

Last year Guatemala saw 40% above average rain falls which caused 30% less coffee production then typically expected.  This year, being the cyclical down year, we again see production down 30%; however, it is normal to see higher qualities in these down years as the coffee trees get a chance to rest, and therefore have more nutrients and energy to put into the cherries producing better flavors.  This was evident when cupping this coffee as we found a much cleaner and sweeter cup than before, as well as a thicker and creamier body.

A lot of work has been done to improve consistency from this estate which includes a color bean scanner as well as a more efficient hand sorting line which is situated directly after the color scanner in the dry mill.  The consistency and cleanliness of their green coffee is world class and shows on the cupping table, and now that we have approved this shipment of coffee, it will continue its resting process in parchment until it is ready to ship to Calgary in 1.5 months.

We can’t wait for this fresh shipment of coffee to arrive and for you to taste it.  To sample the current crop of this coffee please visit BUY NOW.  To read more about this estate, please visit READ MORE.