El Injerto “El Tanque” is unquestionably one of the highest quality coffees we roast, and we have the privilege of doing it every year.
It is always a pleasure to introduce this very special micro-lot from Finca El Injerto in Guatemala. Many members of the JJ Bean family have visited El Injerto, and we have hosted Arturo Jr. here in Vancouver. This year we are thrilled to offer the “El Tanque” micro-lot for the fifth year running. A micro-lot is a special selection of coffee from one farm.
Here is what Arturo Jr. says about this very special coffee in his own words:
“The trees that produce El Tanque micro-lot are located in region No. 212 of the farm at 6000 feet, one of the highest locations of El Injerto.
This is a very well selected lot of Bourbon from a special seed called Tekisic from El Salvador. We send only our very best pickers at the second picking of those plants. The second picking is the best and the most uniform. Pickers are paid more because they have to select the coffee as if they were seeds; only the really great ones are selected. The picking is very slow.
In the wet mill, we take out all the pulp residue that goes into the fermenting tank and we move the coffee every eight hours. This is for the coffee to ferment in a clean environment more uniformly and without pulp.
After the tanks the coffee is washed and hand-sorted on the patios, taking out all defects and beans with different colors.
This coffee is 100% sundried and then it rests in parchment in Grain Pro bags to protect it more from humidity. After the resting period coffee is dry milled and hand sorted again.
This lot of Bourbon won Cup of Excellence in 2006.”
General information about the farm:
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.