San Antonio Huista is a municipality in the Guatemalan department of Huehuetenango, an area known for its lively acidity and tropical, fruit-laced coffee. This cooperative was founded in 1960, but the civil wars that plagued Guatemala from 1961-96 took their toll on production. Restructuring commenced in 1998 and the cooperative slowly began to produce more coffee. By 2008, they started the organic certification process in order to obtain better market prices.
In addition to growing coffee, the cooperative also has an apiary and harvests honey — the coffee farm being a symbiotic environment in which the honey bees can thrive. Today, the cooperative consists of 54 members. Everyone processes the coffee in their houses with hand-powered depulpers. The coffee is then fermented (some of them have concrete fermentation tanks, others have buckets), washed, and dried — always at home. Coffee is then delivered to their San Antonio warehouse, at which point they consolidate lots into 100-pound bags of pergamino that are then delivered to the warehouse in Huehuetenango in a repurposed school bus, which they call the "coffee bus."
This coffee was brought to our attention by our friends at TG Labs in Guatemala. Josue Morales and Dan Griffin, of TG Labs, have been stopping by our roasting facility for several years now, and we have been trying to figure out a way to work more closely with them. One day, Dan stopped by with a sample of this coffee, and it was just the thing we were looking for. The cup was clean and well-structured with a tropical fruit sweetness and a juicy, tangerine-like acidity, rounded out by a brown sugar and date-like finish.
TG Labs, based in Guatemala City, is a research-and-development center seeking to establish relationships with farmers within all regions of Guatemala and work with them to refine their farming practices, add value to their work, and help to produce better coffee. Josue and his team have done a great job to help transform this coffee into a beautiful product and bring it to market. They have been working with this cooperative in San Antonio since 2011, and we have heard from Josue that there are still further plans to increase traceability and improve quality on the farm level. We are grateful for the work that TG Labs is doing in this area, and we are very lucky to be working with such passionate coffee professionals across our supply chain. As for now, we are excited and proud to bring this coffee to you. We hope you enjoy it!
In the Cup: Tangerine, dates, brown sugar, tropical sweetness, good structure
Farm/Cooperative: Cooperativa de Desarrollo Integral San Antonio Huista, R.L
Region: San Antonio Huista, Huehuetenango
Altitude: 900-1650 meters
Variety: Caturra, Typica, Pache, Bourbon, Anacafe14, Castilla
Processing: Fully Washed and Patio Dried in small lots on the farm level, Consolidated, sorted and graded at the Cooperative
Certification: USDA Organic
Year Started: 1960