One 12 oz. compostable Biotre bag.
Our third and final Guatemala offering from the 2018 harvest is a coffee that has now graced our menu for the third year in a row - Carmona. Located just a quick 15 minute drive from the heart of Antigua, Hacienda Carmona spans nearly 1700 acres (280 of which are dedicated specifically to coffee production) along the slope of Volcan de Agua. Carmona has its own small wet mill, fermentation tanks, and drying patios. Dried parchment coffee is then delivered for final processing at Luis Pedro Zelaya Zamora’s (LPZZ) family mill - Beneficio Bella Vista - where quality control is kept under the close watch of Don Luis and his team of seasoned professionals.
It’s safe to say that the Zelaya family name holds somewhat of a celebrity status in the world of Guatemalan coffee; LPZZ is the fourth generation to be working in the coffee business. For many years, the main focus was straightforward commercial coffee production and export. However, since the early 2000s, LPZZ grabbed the wheel and has been successfully turning the focus towards speciality coffee and small microlots. Year after year, they do a tremendous job of choosing the best lots from the best producers in the area. Bella Vista only accepts lots that have a certain high percentage of ripe cherry which are then separated by a large list of factors including, region, farm, elevation, variety, and date harvested, just to name a few. This allows us, as roasters and green buyers, to taste through many different ‘day lots’ from the same farms and choose the cream of the crop.
The Carmona estate has been in Maria Zelaya’s family since 1910, when it was purchased by her grandfather, Luis Pedro Aguirre. Maria, the aunt of LPZZ, is now the third generation owner. A big roya (coffee leaf rust disease) outbreak in 2012 hit Carmona very hard and a large majority of the farm was compromised. At this point, Maria came to the realization that she needed to change her more conventional agricultural management practices to overcome the disease. With the added help of LPZZ and his brother, Ricardo Zelaya, they started focusing on more intense tissue management, plant nutrition and pest/disease control. So far, these efforts have resulted in much healthier plants each year with increasingly larger yields. When walking around the farm in March of 2017, Melvin Denillo (the farm manager of Carmona) explained to us his new tissue management techniques and how it’s helping the farm to stabilize in a more happy and healthy and organic state. An interesting note is that Carmona both lies at a slightly higher altitude than Bella Vista and uses fresh, cold spring water for all of their processing. This means the coffees from Carmona have longer fermentation times, around 48 hours, and longer drying times, 12 - 14 days.
Each year the Bella Vista team selects the top day-lots to purchase and put in front of us on the cupping table. These coffees from Carmona are truly a treat, as they present a slightly more complex and vibrant flavor profile in comparison to other Antiguan coffees. The mouthfeel is rich in sweetness and in body, much like a brownie. Meanwhile, the acidity remains bright like a honeycrisp apple. We’ve found Carmona to be very versatile when brewing - higher extractions tend push the syrupy body and sweetness, while lower extractions produce a more delicate, honeyed sweetness and increased acidity. We’re tasting: cherry, apple, prune, orange, pink lemonade, milk chocolate, brown sugar, toffee, caramel.