FARM: Finca El Zapote, Julio Roberto Melendez Perez
ALTITUDE : 1650-1700 MASL
VARIETAL : Caturra
PROCESS : Natural, dried for 25-30 days on raised beds
FLAVOUR NOTES: Padoo fruit, fresh apricot, lemon pudding
With its majestic beauty, the Acatenango region is named after one of its two nearby by volcanoes. The altitude in the region reaches as high as 2,000 meters and gets the sea breeze through strong gusts of wind from the Pacific Ocean. The area is extremely lush with densely shaded forests. The Acatenango volcano is distinct in that it has two peaks though it is inactive.
The Fuego volcano, which means fire in Spanish, is under constant eruption and is noticeable by the clouds of smoke above its peak. The constant eruption when in small doses nourishes the sandy soil and makes it perfect for growing coffee! Unfortunately in June 2018 Volcan de Fuego had an unprecedented eruption after the harvest in June impacting the immediate area of Chimaletenango. At the time of writing access to the damaged areas is still limited. The volcanic eruption has been equated to the Pompeii of our times.
Julio represents the 4th generation working Finca El Zapote. The farm is over 100 years old. It first started growing sugar cane for its “panela” production. Panela is unrefined whole cane sugar. Julio’s grandfather started growing coffee 150 years ago, with 80 acres of coffee. Today Julio’s son and nephew create the various lots based on daily pickings. Julio’s son is a barista and teaches brewing and barista schools. He loves all things brewing. When asked about the future of coffee, and what he would like for Finca El Zapote, he said his goal for the farm is to secure long term relationships. He would like to share more of the profits with his workers, and hopes to do so by securing relationships for all of his coffee.
The farm has a unique micro climate. Combination of wind, sun, clouds means that sometimes El Zapote harvests a bit earlier than normal for other farms at the altitude.