Xinabajul is the name of the original Huehuetenango town, and this coffee comes from small-holder farmers in the greater department of Huehue. Specifically, this small lot is a blend of a small producers in the different areas where our buying is focused, San Pedra Necta, Peña Blanca and Cuilco name a few. The small coffee producers in these areas had few options when selling their coffee locally; they could take it to the large mills down at lower elevations and get paid the going rate, or they could sell it to “coyotes” who drive the dirt roads in their trucks paying cash for coffee. Neither offered any extra price for quality, even though the coffees were grown higher and tended with greater care than the big farms down at lower elevations. We partnered with local coffee people to offer higher prices if the farmers could meet our quality expectations in the cup, and this lot is testament to that success. Given that the localities where we are buying coffee are little more than extended family groups, we have found if we involve a brother or sister, they will tell all their coffee-farming kin and soon we have a network of farmers interested in our project.
City+ roasts have a buttery sweetness in the dry grounds, roasted almond and butter toffee, like almond brittle candy. Adding hot water brings up a concoction of sweet sugary smells, and a mixture that brings to mind pistachio torrone candy. The cup has moderate sweetness in the middle roasts and flavor components of minimally refined sugars like turbinado/demerara, along with roasted almond, lay out a solid foundation. Full City roasts shift toward pungent dark cocoa roast tones, and the finish is marked by a molasses note making for pleasant interplay of bittering and sweet flavors. I took one roast all the way to 2nd snaps (FC+) and was impressed by the underlying sweetness retained. Acidity has an apple-like quality most prevalent in City+ roasting, and a dried golden apple flavor note that pops up as the coffee cools helps solidify this. Full City and Full City+ roasts work particularly well as espresso, ristretto shots pushing syrupy dark chocolate flavors and creamy nut tones long into the aftertaste.