Guatemalan - Montecristo, Geisha - Direct Trade Coffee

Easily one of the top coffees we've ever had the opportunity to taste has been our new Guatemalan Don Gustavo Geisha, a stunning cup, bright citrus and tropical fruit notes with an incredibly smooth body and a candy like finish. It is grown at 1600 Meters above sea level alongside Bourbons and Caturra coffee plants and macadamia nut trees which provide shade for this coffee.  We have been working with Johann Nottebohm (seen beelow) now for 5 years.

The Montecristo Estate is a Rainforest Alliance certified farm. It has schools, housing and many other facilities for its many permanent workers as well as for any workers that come just for the harvest. The schools are also available for the surrounding community that does not work for the farm.   Montecristo has been part of the community for over 40 years, and the farm manager, Don Gustavo (seen below), has been a vital part of it for over 30 years!

What is truly special about this coffee besides the amazing taste was the fact that we were able to see this coffee grow from a seedling 5 years ago. Having this special relationship with Johann for many years allowed us to taste and buy it on its first year of production.  This new area of their farm has 8000 new Geisha trees being planted and is being called FRATELLO for our evolvement in this initiative. 

For those of you who don’t know, a Geisha is a unique varietal not only in taste but also in the way it grows. If treated like a typical coffee varietal/tree a Geisha will grow very slowly and take up to 7 years before it produces any fruit, compared to the 3 to 4 years of most other varietals. What Johann (Owner of the Montecristo Estate) has found is that with proper grafting of a stronger and more productive root system onto his Geisha plants, along with 4 times the amount of fertilization, he has been able to have Geisha’s start producing after 3 years, which is absolutely unheard of.

Other differences of the Geisha include a lower crop yield, typically 25% of what other varietals will yield. When I asked Johann if he felt it was worth growing he told me if he could find people who enjoyed this coffee and were willing to pay the higher cost than it would be worth it to him. He also went on to explain how he felt it was much more resistant to Roya (also known as Coffee Rust) than the Bourbon and Caturra he was also growing, which is still a major concern for Guatemalan farmers.

The Montecristo estate fully washes all their coffee with the Geisha being no exception. It is soaked for thirty-six hours in their fermentation tank then rewashed and soaked again for another two days, giving it the clean crisp notes in the cup. After the two soakings it is Sun died over multiple days and then run through a density shaker to separate the lower density beans away from the lot and then sent through a color sorter where it picks out any discolored beans, after this it is then hand sorted for any defects or broken beans that may have gotten through. After all this it is bagged and put into the bodega to ensure the moisture levels are stable.   Even the bodega at the Montecristo Estate is a very unique as it is lined with Conacaste wood which helps keep the moisture level down in the building, which leads to a more stable coffee, increasing its shelf life and trapping all the characteristics inside the bean.

So is the price and all this work worth it?  I would most definitely say yes! This is such a unique and amazing coffee I recommend for everyone to try this cup at least once. But be warned you may fall in love with it!

Written by: David Schindel, Lead Roaster. 

Guatemala Direct Trade Coffee Video

Here is a new video we just shot while touring our Direct Trade Partners in Guatemala

Guatemala Montecristo Estate - Micro Lot from Russ Prefontaine on Vimeo.

Direct Trade Coffee - Guatemalan Montecristo Rainforest Alliance Estate

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.

(more…)

Guatemalan Montecristo - Rainforest Alliance - Direct Trade Coffee

Last year we were offering coffee from this same estate called Nueva Granada.  This year we wanted to dig a little deeper into their farm and decided on this single varietal coffee, Bourbon.  Bourbon, an American mutation of the Typica varietal, is known for its softer, creamer cup then most other coffee varietals.

This 100% Bourbon micro-lot has a sappy maple aroma with flavor notes of brown sugar and white chocolate.  The green grape acidity finishes thick and clean.

Cupping Score - 88.5.

Montecristo is located at the highest point of Nueva Granada in the San Marcos region of Guatemala.  At 5200 feet elevation, this is San Marcos highest farm.  From the top of this farm you can see two volcano's and Mexico's boarder.

Fratello Coffee is the only roaster who had access to this coffee in the entire world as Johann D Nottebohm, the owner of the estate, did this special separation of 100% Bourbon just for us.

guat1_o

Thank you Johann, we look forward to sharing this with our clients!  To read more information about this coffee/estate, please go to: https://www.fratellocoffee.com/2009/02/05/guatemalan-nueva-granda-buying-trip/