Dozens of accolades are attached to the name of Family Bonds coffee. Each year we make the trek to Huehuetenango to cup alongside the Perez family at the end of the harvest. Prior to 2018 this included a six hour drive through the mountains of Guatemala. (Or four hours if Danny is driving…) Now there is a direct flight which will take you straight to Huehue on a prop plane. Each year we are met by the unparalleled hospitality of the Perez family. This season was quite different, as COVID radically changed the way we purchased coffee. As the harvest drew close, it was logical for us to move a full container of coffee with Family Bonds, and they were generous in helping us plan for that. They shipped all the vetted lots for our selection, and we cupped them in our homes in March, carefully selected two Pacamara lots that we believed represented the best of Finca Isnul. The Perez family worked hard to dry mill these lots with a limited team, who no doubt put in long hours to prepare these coffees for export. While we may have not been able to visit them directly, their hard work and hospitality shone through each step of the way. We look forward to next season when we can travel down to their facility to cup their shining coffees alongside them.
THE HISTORY OF FINCA ISNUL BY DANNY PEREZ
“This farm has belonged to our mother's family since 1940 and to my grandfather since 1969. It was a small farm, but with hard work and loans, the farm became one of the biggest farms of the region with 160 hectares. Unfortunately, our grandfather passed away on March of 2015. Now his two daughters, Leticia (my mother) and Lorena (my aunt) Anzueto Sandoval are the new owners of the farm. We are working the farm with the help of the 5th generation of coffee growers. Starting the process from the ground up, we are now processing, milling, cupping and exporting the finest Guatemalan coffees directly to the best roasters in the world.”
Processing in coffee refers to the conversion of the raw coffee cherry into green coffee, a finished product for roasters to manipulate. Washed coffee can also be known as “wet-processed.” It refers to the removal of the fruit that covers the beans (seeds) before they are laid to dry. Density sorts Finca Isnul's coffee by fully immersing the cherries in water. The floaters are taken out of the main harvest and sold as a sub-product. The cherries that drop in water are then squeezed through a screen called a pulper. The fruit/skin travels down one shoot, while the coffee beans go into a large tank. The seeds at this point still are covered in a sticky, mucilage-like substance, think the stringy fruit left on a peach pit.
From here the coffee goes through a 36-hour dry fermentation. This step is a delicate time in processing where bacteria are eating and converting the mucilage and changing the flavor of the coffee. If this fermentation happens for too long and the coffee becomes vinegary, too little and you end up drying coffee with mucilage semi-intact. The coffee is finally set out to dry on raised beds, allowing airflow and even drying among all the beans. All of these steps have to be subtly altered depending on temperature, time of the harvest, rainfall and other factors. The Perez family has shown incredible consistency and attention to detail. We are incredibly honored to showcase this beautiful washed Pacamara from Finca Insul.