Guatemala Finca El Retiro
Pecan praline, sugar cone, soft citrus, long satiny finish
Tasting Notes: Pecan praline, sugar cone, soft citrus, long satiny finish
Farm: El Retiro del Quisaya
Elevation: 5900 feet
Process: washed, sun dried
It took some time and countless cuppings to locate a worthy successor to last year’s popular El Bosque offering, but we feel patience has paid off in the form of this subtle yet sublime Guatemalan coffee from Finca El Retiro Quisaya.
The Ortega-Alburez family had been working their El Retiro Quisaya farm high above sea level in San Martin Jilotepeque in the region of Chimaltenango for almost 200 years and cultivating coffee on it since 1912 before recently selling to the Arabigos del Sur organization. Though the farm has historically grown a wide variety of crops, it now focuses 200 of its 1350 acres on coffee interspersed with gravilea trees for shade and dedicates the rest of the land to pine forests.
Coffee at El Retiro is hand-picked and then sorted at the farm’s own mill on property where the fruit is subsequently removed from the cherry via eco-pulper before being submerged in open tanks for 14 hours of fermentation. The coffee is then washed and spun in a centrifugal tank to remove any remaining mucilage before being spread on patios for 10 days of drying in the open sun.
In the cup, this lot from El Retiro Quisaya presents soft, sweet, and nutty with distinct confectionary flavors. Think candied pecans and ice cream sugar cones. One cupper was reminded of madeleines, and our partner from Ireland of the shortcakes of his youth. Its solid structure does not fade in the later stages, carrying light dandelion florals, lime zest acidity, and a satiny mouthfeel well into the finish.
The El Retiro feels like the coffee equivalent of a session beer—an everyday (all-day?) drinker, if you will, a coffee that does not fatigue. We hope you will enjoy this smooth Guatemalan coffee as much and as often as have we.