The city of Antigua in Guatemala is one of the most stunning coffee growing regions in world to visit, and the coffee has built an enviable reputation for excellent quality over many many years. The city itself is steeped in the history of the old Central American colonial capital and still retains a unique mix of Spanish and Mayan culture. If you look up from the criss-cross of cobbled streets Antigua’s unique geography that defines the coffee from the micro-region is inescapable. Three vast volcanoes, Fuego, Agua, and Acetenango form a ring around the region and their shelter provides a cool and dry micro-climate perfect for coffee growing. The edge of the city merges seamlessly with the surrounding coffee farms which rise up onto the lower slopes of the volcanoes to heights of around 1900m above sea level.
San Agustin sits on one of these steep volcanic slopes to the east of Antigua and has an unusually cool micro-climate for Antigua because it sits mostly north facing. This means with a little less sun the coffee ripens a little slower and sugars develop over a little more time. This certainly seems to benefit the coffee and the farm has already collected two Cup of Excellence awards in the last decade since the highly regarded farmer Ricardo Zeyela took over the once abandoned farm.
This natural process micro-lot was done especially for Artisan Roast by Ricardo following on from a visit we made to his farm. After selecting perfectly ripe coffee cherries, Ricardo then dried them in a cool, controlled environment that stretched the cherry drying times and protected the simple sugars in the cup.
This enhanced sweetness comes through with real presence in the roast. It has been roasted a little lighter than the washed coffee from the same farm to allow the delicate raisin and raspberry flavours to be preserved. Underneath these sweet heady dried fruit notes there is an incredibly dense and syrupy mouthfeel. This is balanced by a low level apple like acidity before further flavours of hazelnut, milk chocolate and caramel stay on the finish.
We love this coffee brewed as a filter for it's ability to preserve the the more subtle flavours of raspberry, raisin and vanilla. If you can control brew temperature on your espresso machine it's a definite recommendation as a single origin espresso too. The mouthfeel becomes lush, syrupy and viscous with raisin and milk chocolate becoming the dominant flavours.