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Guatemala Miel de Oro Black Honey


This is our third year roasting this sweet, creamy coffee from Acatenango, and we’re stoked to have Mario Alarcon’s black honey process back in the Huckleberry quiver. While the bulk of our Guatemalan coffee and our efforts in the country will remain centered around the smaller-scale growers in AProCafé, we’ve never closed off the idea of other Guatemalan coffees, especially with a personal connection.

Our coffee buyer Kevin’s friend Frosty (or Cristian, but he’s pale by Guatemalan standards and that’s what everyone calls him) introduced us to Mario Alarcón and Christian Starry, two slightly larger-scale growers in the Acatenango region who banded together with other growers in the region to export their own coffee under the name Truth Trading Company. When we first tasted coffee together, Mario’s coffee stood out, and that excitement holds true for year three.

This honey-processed coffee is picked ripe, like any other coffee in our lineup, but falls somewhere between a washed coffee and a natural. Washed coffees are depulped of their cherry skin, then have all the additional sticky fruity material (honey or mucilage) washed off prior to drying. Naturals are dried with the fruit intact. Honeys are depulped, but dried with varying levels of that mucilage still on the bean. White honeys dry with very little mucilage, black honeys dry with the most.

Mario takes the basics several steps further. He uses a brix meter to decide when to pick his coffee (22 Brix), then before depulping, keeps his coffee in its cherry for a day or two of anaerobic fermentation. Then he depulps his coffee, leaving a large amount of mucilage intact, and dries slowly on raised beds over the course of 2-3 weeks. With its in-cherry fermentation, Miel de Oro almost straddles the line between honey and full natural, and we have a feeling that’s part of the reason it’s a standout.

All said and done, we’re here to roast you coffee that tastes good and tastes interesting, and we’re pretty happy that Frosty put Miel de Oro in our playlist. This is a full-bodied, creamy, and deeply sweet coffee that will stand up great to milk and work great as an espresso. It also packs plenty of complexity, without the intensity of some full naturals and a tad less brightness than some full washed coffees. On the bag we say cashew butter, grape jelly, and creamy milk chocolate. If you’re looking for a coffee with complexity but mellower acidity and full sweetness, Miel de Oro might be your pot of gold.

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