Itzamná Guatemala La Maravilla Edition
- August 2018
- Written by : Sam Sabori
National Coffee Roasting Manager / Green Coffee Buyer
Intelligentsia Itzamná Guatemala
Itzamná is the creator-deity from Maya mythology whose name can be rendered “god of nectar” and was the harbinger of culture, cacao, and maize to the Mayans in ancient lore. Together with our partners in Guatemala, we chose to name our Direct Trade program after Itzamná because we like what he stands for. Itzamná is beloved deity, credited with creating many of the things that make life worth living. He introduced farming and science, and was always known to be kind and protective towards humans. In other words, he is the man. We like to think that he would have loved coffee if he didn’t predate its arrival in the Americas by centuries. Coffees included as part of our Itzamná project represent some of the most complex and unique that Guatemala has to offer. The Itzamná project was created as a way to showcase consistent quality and continued refinement from passionate coffee farmers in Guatemala.
Finca La Maravilla Edition
At Finca La Maravilla, Mauricio Rosales has many variables that help his farm create a great cup of Guatemalan coffee. The farm’s altitude starts at 1500 meters above sea level and tops out at around 1800. The farm is set upon volcanic soil that helps drain the 60-85 inches of rain the farm gets each year. The sun burns hot in Guatemala’s highlands, but La Maravilla’s coffee is directly exposed to its rays for only a portion of the day thanks to the mountain peaks around the farm that create a solar cadence for the coffee between sunrise and sunset.
Though these factors give Mauricio a leg up, they do not mean coffee production is easy for Mauricio. When he and his father started the farm in 1997, they were armed only with only three Arabica plants, a dream to produce great coffee and the drive to get started. They even had to make the road to their farm themselves. With a lot of grit and hard work, their dream has flourished into one of Huehuetenango’s premier coffee farms and a consistent supply of exceptional coffees, including the one we present to you this year.
Though La Maravilla is thriving, challenges have mounted. Labor is one of them. How does a coffee producer keep his best workers in the field when the siren of the cities grows louder? Another is climate change. How does a producer manage irregular weather patterns, like hail or rain during the dry-season harvest one year and lack of precipitation during the rainy season the next? These are some of the questions Mauricio is having to address now that he did not face in the past.
Despite these challenges, Mauricio is obstinate, striving to make better coffee year after year, and to better understand what his farm is producing. To this end, he was busy during my visit building a cupping lab on the farm. He currently has to make a two-hour drive just to roast and cup his coffee, and he wants to tighten the feedback loop.
For this year’s edition of La Maravilla, we analyzed every lot possible before making our final selections. These selections spanned from February to May, and in the end we combined some of highest performing lots that would roast and extract well together. This took a lot of time, as we wanted to refine the structure of the cup, enhance its clarity and improve its finish.
This year was not without challenges, but we are very eager to present to you a new and refined La Maravilla edition of Itzamná. In some of the first roasts of this coffee, we tasted notes of black plum, candied apple and mandarin.