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Guatemala, Mike's Blog

My Central American trip started with Guatemala. While most trips to recurring countries involve building relationships with current farms, I am always on the lookout for new micro lots, and this trip did not disappoint. After a red eye into Guatemala City, the first two days were spent cupping table after table and lot after lot to find a final table with 5 of the top lots from a fantastic new little farm in Antigua, more on this lot in a few months but I feel Antigua is back. The rest of the table was filled with lots from El Retiro, who we already feature.

On my third day we traveled and visited the Old House at El Retiro, the finca, and our new FIND in Antigua. El Retiro cupped great and the farm is even better. Located in San Martin Jilotepeque, the farm is bio diverse, covered with shade, and located within a forest. Farmer Juan Luis Ortega manages the entire farm for his family. While coffee is the main crop, Juan Luis also manages the forest with a 20 year sustainability plan, a nursery for all varietals of plants and trees, plus produce and fruit trees all around. We witnessed the working harvesting the beautiful ripe cherries and I even got to enjoy lunch with them: fresh tortillas over a fire. A great joy was seeing the excitement on the faces of all as I gave them a bag of their own coffee. For a funny side note see my story of Costa Rica on this trip.

From San Martin we traveled to Antigua where I toured the mill and visited our new FIND micro farm in Antigua. Less than 40 bags total but an incredible cup, I had to see the farm. And once I arrived the cup was evident. Located at the top of Antigua at the end of a dirt road we found it, a small piece of paradise. Mostly coffee but some Avocados and harvesting of honey from Bee’s near the house added to the picturesque setting. Samples are waiting for me in our lab as I write this.

After a late drive back to the hotel around 10pm, it’s a quick dinner because my flight to my next country is 7am.


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