Guatemala El Injerto "Pandora" by Arturo Aguirre Sr. & Jr.
Tastes: Creamy, peach nectar, winy, complex
Processing: Washed and dried on raised beds
Importer: JJ Bean (exported by SERVEX)
El Injerto's "Pandora" microlot is the most awarded coffee in the Cup Of Excellence program.
Here is some information on this very special microlot from Arturo Jr:
The lot name is Pandora and it is with this lot that we have won the 1 st place in the Cup of Excellence many times. The Pacamara trees are approximately 22 years old and grow between 1800 to 1840 metres above sea level. This is a special microlot, picked by special pickers and given a special treatment through the wet and dry mill. The coffee is dried on African-style beds inside a greenhouse to control temperature, humidity and shade. All this helps to really make the flavors brighter, more intense, and to give long life to this coffee.
Finca El Injerto is located in the La Libertad region in the province of Huehuetenango in western Guatemala. The land was first acquired in 1874 by Jesus Aguirre Panamá, originally planting crops such as sugarcane, corn, beans and tobacco. In 1900 he began planting coffee plants and named the farm El Injerto. The farm is now run by father and son, Arturo Sr & Jr, the 3rd and 4th generations to be managing the farm. Together they've created one of the most progressive and celebrated coffee farms in Central America.
For the Aguirres, quality begins long before the plants have even bloomed. Part of the reason they have been so successful in their cultivation is because of their meticulous attention to detail. The farm is divided into 11 distinct areas. These areas all vary in micro-climate, soil type and elevation as well as the varietals of coffee planted. By then keeping these lots separated throughout processing, and then cupping the results, they are able to build a more comprehensive understanding of their product. This is combined with leaf and soil analysis to determine what the nutritional needs are for any specific part of the farm.
All coffee cherries are picked by hand, and only the ripe ones are picked. This means that the pickers must revisit the same trees multiple times throughout the season in order to get all the cherries, a much more expensive alternative to picking all the cherries at once, but a step that helps ensure quality. From there the cherries are then meticulously processed and sun dried all on site. Once the moisture content of the beans drops below 11.5% the coffee is packed in bags with identifying labels which indicate the varietal, date it was picked and the area of the farm it was picked from. El Injerto also possesses the ability to dry mill their own coffee and handle export - ensuring complete traceability from the cherry on the tree to the final brewed cup.
Running a coffee farm the size of El Injerto is no small feat; it requires many hands, especially during the harvest season. Taking care of all these people is an important part of the Aguirres’ mandate. On the farm they provide housing, medical care and basic foodstuffs and have invested heavily in their inner transportation network to help alleviate long treks with heavy loads while picking. Off the farm they support the local school with resources and funds and provide seminars for adults such as machinery and computer courses.
Taking care of the land is equally important. Of the 720 hectare property, 470 have been left as a natural rainforest. The coffee trees on the remaining land are planted under the cover of a diversity of shade trees. This helps the quality of the coffee by ensuring slow maturation of the fruit, and also provides a diverse ecosystem. Some of the other environmental highlights include:
- Cherry pulp produced is composted and used as natural fertilizer on the farm.
- All the electricity used is produced by two hydroelectric generators on site.
- Water used in processing is passed through special filtration ponds to be cleaned of sediment.
- There is a reforestation plan for areas of the farm which are no longer in use.
- Diversity of production: along with coffee, macadamia nuts and apples are also sold from the farm locally. Other food producing trees are also planted as shade trees.
- The farm is also Rainforest Alliance Certified.