Guatemala Trip, Part 4: Huehuetenango

Guatemala Trip, Part 4: Huehuetenango

On to the steep slopes of Huehuetenango!

Finca La Providencia

"If you've had Flying Monkey, Southpaw, or other Signature Blends recently, you've tasted coffee from La Providencia. It's the body and soul of our blends for a good portion of the year. Max Palacios is the owner of the farm."

"The day's harvest flows into the fermentation tank after depulping."

"After fermentation and washing, the parchment coffee dries in the sun on large concrete patios and is turned regularly to ensure even drying. This step is crucial for optimum cup quality. The workers even change the orientation of the rows as the day passes so that the mounds don't cast shadows."

"After drying, parchment coffee is bagged and loaded onto trucks to be taken to the dry mill. We’ve heard and seen it throughout Guatemala this year, but the labor shortage seems especially acute in Huehuetenango. Proximity to the Mexico border is a major factor, as thousands of people have emigrated north during the pandemic. Timing is essential to the coffee harvest, and with fewer pickers a noticeable amount of coffee is going unpicked."

Finca La Bolsa

La Bolsa is one of three farms owned and managed by Vides58 in Huehuetenango, along with El Rincon and Las Terrazas. Jorge Vides, a doctor, founded La Bolsa in 1958. Since 1995 it has been managed by his daughter, María Elena Vides, and grandson, Renardo “Nayo” Ovalle.

"The nursery at La Bolsa looks vibrant and full right now. They anticipate planting 75,000 new plants of multiple varietals spread across all three farms. Renewal is a constant and organized process given that most coffee trees do not produce a viable volume of cherries until they are 3-4 years old. The current schedule is to renew around 5% each year."

"The mill is at the base of the farm with nearly all of the coffee lots climbing upwards several hundred meters until the sheer rock faces leading to the mountain peaks prevent further cultivation."

"Bees are a new addition to the farm, placed and managed by a neighbor. Bees play an essential role in coffee production by pollinating the coffee trees and helping buds set. La Bolsa also hopes to eventually collect honey from the project."

"One of the best ways to get around Huehue is in the back of a pickup truck. A little bumpy, sure, but the views are worth it!"

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