La Bugambilia

  • Country
    Guatemala
  • Department
    Santa Rosa
  • Municipality
    Santa Rosa de Lima
  • Elevation
    1,450 - 1,850m above sea level
  • Variety
    Caturra, Marsellesa
  • Processing
    Washed
  • Producer
    Juarez Family, lead by Guillermo Juarez
  • Awards
    Cup of Excellence 2014, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Relationship length with MCM
    2 years (first purchased in 2020)

Clean and sweet, with lifted citric acidity and a syrupy mouthfeel. Apricot, green apple, honeycomb and almond.

This coffee comes from a plot of land called La Bugambilia which is one of five parcels of land on El Guatalón estate, located in Santa Rosa, Guatemala. The estate is owned and managed by third-generation farmer Guillermo Juarez.

HISTORY OF EL GUATELÓN

El Guatelón estate was established in 1910 by Daniel Juarez, Guillermo’s grandfather. It was the first commercial coffee plantation in the region, and Daniel planted Typica and Mundo Novo varieties on the farm. Daniels son, Juan Alberto Juarez Reyes took over the farm in the 1970s, who later handed the farm down to his son, Guillermo in 2010.

 

When Guillermo took over the estate, he was determined to focus on producing specialty coffee in order to achieve higher prices for their efforts. He had heard of the Cup of Excellence and decided to participate. In 2012 they came very close to qualifying (finishing 24thand just outside the final line up of 23 farms) and were thrilled to receive their first accolade in 2014. Since then the farm has placed nearly every year, most recently in 2020 where it placed 27th.  These awards and this recognition is very motivating for Guillermo, who loves the challenge:

“We want to go further. We know we can deliver higher quality. After all, we know living and succeeding is just about that: always make an extra effort.” – Guillermo Juarez

ABOUT THE ESTATE

El Guatalón estate is 75 hectares in size, 30 hectares of which is dedicated to coffee, and the rest forest. The coffee is planted on 5 parcels of land that have been divided by altitude and soil type – La Bugambilia, El Cuje, Los Pajuiles, and Guatelón (in the municipality of Santa Rosa de Lima) and La Loma which is located in neighbouring municipality of Mataquescuintla.

El Guatalón has many different varieties growing – as each generation has introduced new varieties to the farm including Typica, Mundo Novo, Pache, San Ramon, Caturra, Catuaí and most recently Villa Sarchi, Pacamara and Maragogype.  These varieties flourish in different microclimates and so each has been carefully planted where it is best suited across the estate.

ABOUT LA BUGAMBILIA

The La Bugambillia plot is 36-hectares in size, 18 of which are dedicated to coffee (and the rest forest). It sits at an elevation of 1,450 – 1,850m above sea level and is named after the Bougainvillea plant which is very common in Guatemala and has vibrant pink and purple flowers. Pacas, Caturra, Pacamara, Bourbon Amarillo and Geisha grow on this estate under the shade of Gravilea and Cuje trees as well as native oak and cedar trees. This lot is a mix of Caturra and Marsellesa varieties.

PROCESSING

Harvest begins in December and concludes in March. In addition to 10 full-time workers, around 40 seasonal workers are employed to selectively handpick the coffee. This activity is supervised by Guillermo and Willy every day, who either travel from home or spend the night at the farm.

All coffee from El Guatalón is processed at the families wet mill in Samororo, which is located close to La Loma.

After being pulped the coffee is fermented from anywhere between 24 to 40 hours. The beans are then washed to remove any remaining pulp and carefully dried on patios and where they are turned regularly to ensure they dry slowly and evenly. Once dry, the coffee is rested in parchment until it is ready for export.  Throughout the process, all organic by-products are recycled and reused, and the water is treated in sedimentation tanks.

HOPES FOR THE FUTURE

Guillermo and Willy don’t see themselves expanding much on volume, and rather want to focus on quality and continue to explore different processing methods and techniques.  Willy is especially interested in understanding the fermentation and its impact on quality.  He is currently taking courses and training to have a better understanding of processing techniques, which he hopes to implement in the coming harvests.