La Bella

  • Country
    Guatemala
  • Region
    Sierra de Las Minas
  • Municipality
    San Agustin Acasaguaslán
  • Department
    El Progreso
  • Altitude
    1,450 – 1,650 meters above sea level
  • Variety
    Bourbon, Caturra
  • Processing
    Washed
  • Owner
    Teodore Engelhardt
  • Awards
    Cup of Excellence 2013, 2016 and 2017

Golden syrup, pear and almond nougat. Candied orange and cola-like acidity, with lingering florals and a clean finish.

La Bella is a beautiful 90-hectare farm located 1,380-1,650 meters above sea level in the Sierra de Las Minas mountain range, in Guatemala’s eastern highlands. The farm is surrounded by tropical forest, creating a unique microclimate that gives the coffee a very unique and distinctive cup profile.

The farm, now owned and managed by Teodoro Englehart Ortega, was started around fifty years ago when Teo’s grandfather first set foot on the land and marvelled at the extraordinary beauty that surrounded him. He felt it was a ‘gift from God’ and was determined to create something special on the land. He decided to plant coffee, which in hindsight was an extraordinary decision given the farms remoteness, difficulty to access, and its steep terrain and wet climate. There were also no other coffee farms in the region. However, Senor Englehart recognised that the altitude, rich soil and good access to water would support the cultivation of quality coffee. And it turns out he was right. La Bella has become a fixture in the Cup of Excellence and is well regarded for its exceptional quality.

It is also very apparent, that La Bella’s success isn’t simply ‘a gift from God’. It is the result of the hard work, commitment to quality, and technical skill of three generations who have passed on their expertise and continued to innovate and invest in quality.

The trees at La Bella are planted under two shade canopies which help to preserve the environment and wildlife diversity. Teo has also implemented processes to save energy and water, and reduce waste. Water is recycled and cleaned before it re-enters the ecosystem, and the coffee pulp is composted and turned into organic fertiliser.

“I really love to push forward to quality on all areas. Sustainability for me means to be able to provide for everyone—nature, people and great coffees!” – Teo

Teodoro also cares about the wellbeing of his staff and has invested in providing medical assistance for permanent and temporary staff, as well as improving their housing and cooking facilities and providing training to encourage progression through the coffee industry.

PROCESSING

Sierra de Las Minas experiences a lot of rain throughout the year, which means that  flowering is very staggered. Due to this prolonged flowering season, coffee ripens at different stages, which means that multiple passes must be made over an extended period time – starting in January and often continuing into May to ensure that only the very ripest cherries are selected.

 

Within hours of being picked, the red cherries are transported by foot or tractor to La Bella’s wet mill (located on the farm) where they are mechanically pulped and then dry fermented for 15–18 hours. The coffee is then passed through channels and graded by weight, and then soaked in clean water for 24 hours. It is then dried slowly in a covered greenhouse where it is turned regularly.

In English La Bella means ‘beautiful’. It’s a fitting name, not because of the incredible setting, but also for the delicious cup profile of this coffee. This year’s coffee has a beautiful floral aroma and butterscotch sweetness, with milk chocolate and mandarin. We hope you enjoy it!