TRAVELING TO HUEHUETENANGO
In years past, the trek from Guatemala City to Heuhuetenango has been a bit rough… Making your way to the coffee region has consisted of a six-hour drive through some mountainous terrain along the Pan American Highway. In 2018 the Guatemala Institute of Tourism announced that direct flights to Huehuetenango were beginning in November of that year. What does that mean for us? In March myself and five other baristas chartered a flight on a prop plane through the mountains of Guatemala, replacing a six-hour drive with a beautiful (and bumpy) thirty-minute flight. Once we arrived we were greeted by Family Bonds coffee, as well as our friends Lucas and Danae where we cupped some tasty coffees and had some tacos at their house. Coffee sourcing isn’t always chartering fights and eating tacos, but when it works out that way it makes it all the sweeter…
FINCA SAN ANTONIO CHAGUITE
Dozens of accolades are attached to Family Bonds coffee. San Antonio Chaguite is the highest farm in elevation, located near the gorge of the Agua Dulce river. This creates a microclimate perfect for growing dense Caturra and bourbon varieties. This third-generation farm took 10th place in the Cup of Excellence 2019, no doubt due to the many years of experience behind each harvest, as well as the rigorous QC standards upheld within Family bonds coffee. William Perez continues to progress coffee production at San Antonio Chaguite through improved picking, innovative processing, and seeking better methods of sustainability so that San Antonio Chaguite will be around for many more generations.
Wanna know more about how we brew? Then visit our brew methods page cause "this is how we brew it" (think Montell Jordan when reading that last part).
FILTER - Clever Dripper
20g Coffee : 300g Water 205°F
~3:30 Drain Time
Sweet and silky epitomize this coffee. Chaguite offers a balanced and comforting cup, which is why we liked to brew it in the Clever Dripper. Caramel, gentle citrus and sweet raisins make up this cup. If this coffee drains too quickly, under-extracts, it tastes nutty, tart, and a little vegetal. This coffee has a wide range of tastiness, so expect a range of tasty drain times and different brew methods. If this coffee drains too long, over-extracts, it tastes too bitter with a somewhat silky body that finishes chalky.
ESPRESSO - Modbar EP
Brew Temp: 198°F, Line Pressure: ~3.5 bars, Max Pressure: 9 bars
Pressure Profile: 0 sec to 4 sec - line pressure, from 4 sec till done - 9 bars
20g in : ~45g out @ ~24s
We experienced some differences as an espresso vs. filter coffee. Look for caramel cocoa in addition to the citrus and raisin. This espresso made a great cortado to a latte. It’s high sweetness, and rich body carried well throughout milk offerings. If this espresso pulls too quickly, under-extracts, it tastes like pithy orange. If this espresso pulls too long, over-extracts, it feels chalky and lacks the smoothness and sweetness of its balanced espresso.
This is a Relationship Coffee from our friends with Family Bonds Coffee at Finca Isnul. It’s our fifth year to work with Danny and his team. Every March, we meet each year in Huehuetenango and Guatemala City to taste their offerings. We purchased fifteen 69-kilo GrainPro bags for $3.70 FOB. While at origin, we cupped this coffee with a score of 87. Tecolote Coffee Imports handled the import for all our Family Bonds coffees, as well as some other Guatemalan coffees and we paid a $0.35 per pound logistics fee to bring this coffee into the USA. Tecolote Coffee is owned by our good friend Blake Trafton who actually introduced us to Danny five years back and judged alongside us at Guatemala’s Cup of Excellence.
- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.07/lb when we purchased this coffee.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum price was $1.60/lb when we bought this coffee.
* We as a company believe transparency is unbelievably important. However, we decided only to list what is shown here because we don’t know where to stop. Do we list the amount of coffee lost in roasting due to moisture loss? Should we list our roaster Mark's salary? The warehouse rent? The utilities? The point of listing things above is not to justify what we charge or what we profit, but to give a realistic snapshot of the industry and how Specialty Coffee can be different than other commodity industries. If you have concerns feel free to email us and I’ll write you back when I’m available.
Relationship Coffee is an initiative we, at Onyx, have purposely created to describe our sourcing and buying practices and how we document them. Certifications like Direct Trade, Fair Trade, and others have impacted the coffee communities in mostly positive ways but also in some negative ways. We find that blanket terms and applying them to a multitude of business models no longer describes what we do.
In reality, every company is different, and we wanted to step out from the mold and create a new set of standards that exceeds in every department from quality to transparency to pricing. The growers, exporters, importers, associations, cooperatives, and other entities are always a set of relationships. To be honest, many are our friends as much as they are our producers and partners. We share information, family news, meals, housing, many faiths, and argue politics. Oh, and we love it. Relationship Coffee for Onyx is the mark of an honest exchange ethos that permeates our company, and we hope it encourages the growth of specialty coffee for the future.
We visited the farm or cupping lab and listened to the producer/agronomist or head cooperative/association to ascertain better knowledge about the culture and practices.
We cupped the coffee, and it scored to our industry-high standards.
We do not buy futures or multiple harvests to ensure that what we cupped for that year is what we serve.
We do not ask for exclusivity from producers, binding their options.
We pay what the coffee is worth. This always is at least double Fair Trade minimum due to the quality we buy, and many times is three to ten times the amount.
We do not finance any coffee. Cash flow is just as important as final price. Coffee is paid in full upon delivery, and we pay a percentage up front upon contracting.
We are completely transparent from price to logistics to cupping score, to who we work with buying and shipping coffee.
We work to set premiums after a contracted price to incentivize quality and community building. This can be .10¢ - .25¢ extra per pound or community projects such as school supplies in the growing village, sports jerseys, vented chimneys for kitchen fires, etc.