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Guatemala Don Manuel Microlot


Over the past several years, Huckleberry has been working to build a stronger relationship with the AProCafé El Grano growers association in the Lake Atitlán region of Guatemala.  These growers produce our Atitlán El Grano coffee, which we love dearly, but we've also been working on some other projects with the cooperative so that we can grow together. We’ve helped the growers with their leaf rust prevention efforts, built raised beds for improved coffee drying, and this is our fourth year paying higher prices for exceptional single farm microlots. Don Manuel Tzic Saso has exceeded our expectations and made the cut every year.

Like all of the farmers in AProCafé, Don Mañuel has great terrain and altitude for coffee growing, plants his coffee trees under shade, and farms using organic, sustainable practices.  We had the chance to visit Manuel last year though, and he's a special character. He's exceptionally kind and generous, and impressively detail-obsessed, able to point out each species of shade tree on his farm, tell you when he last pruned every parcel of his land, and clearly takes joy in sweating the small details that breed quality.  With wild hair and some quirky nerdiness, he kinda reminds us of a Guatemalan version of Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future.

Unlike most other farmers in AProCafé who deliver their coffee cherry to a wetmill in Cerro de Oro, Don Manuel lives in the aldea (more or less a township) of Panyebar, above the town of San Juan la Laguna, and washes and dries his coffee on his farm, along with the coffee from a few of his neighbors.  His farm is one of the highest amongst AProCafé's growers, almost 1000 feet above the shore of Lake Atitlán. High altitude, slow growing times, and Manuel's obsession with the small details all help contribute to his coffee's sweetness and complexity. This year we invested in raised beds to improve coffee drying, and purchased all of his raised bed coffee with Buddy Brew in Florida.

Don Manuel's coffee is both approachable and complex. It has a crowd-pleasing base of caramel, but packs so much sweet fruit.  We taste tamarind and red berry, rounded out with almond pastry and deep caramel sweetness. We'll have to admit some personal bias towards Don Manuel, but his coffee is one of our favorites coming out of Guatemala, year after year.

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