La Maravilla “Los Arroyos”

  • Country
  • Department
  • Municipality
    La Libertad
  • Town
    Los Arroyos
  • Farm Size
    25 Hectares
  • Elevation
    1,650 - 1,800m above sea level
  • Variety
    Pache San Ramón
  • Processing
  • Farm Owner
    Mauricio Rosales
  • Relationship Length
    Since 2013

Sweet and full-bodied, with red apple, condensed milk and almond nougat. Great structure and balance.

La Maravilla is a family-run farm located in the heart of the lush Huehuetenango region, located to the west of Guatemala and near the border of Mexico.  The farm was first established by Guillermo Rosales and his son Mauricio (pictured above, with Fleur), and is divided into six plots, which differ in varieties: Pacayal (Caturra), La Peña (Pache), El Mezcal (Bourbon & Caturra), El Aguacate (Caturra), La Cumbre (Bourbon, Caturra & Pache) and Los Arroyos (Caturra & Pache San Ramón). This particular lot comes from a plot of the farm called “Los Arroyos,” which translates to “the creeks” in Spanish, and is the name of the community that surrounds the town.


While originally from Tiquisate, a town in Guatemala’s south known for sugarcane and banana production, the Rosales moved north to Huehuetenango to find better work opportunities. Don Guillermo had ample experience in agriculture already, but Mauricio’s career in coffee only began in 1984, when he began working as a green buyer for exporter Volcafe. Ironically, Mauricio hadn’t grown up as a coffee drinker, finding it too bitter as a child, and had to learn to taste and evaluate coffee on the job. As his career progressed, his colleagues and peers kept telling him that if he was to really understand the ins and outs of the job, he would eventually need to start producing coffee himself — and that’s how La Maravilla was born.

Don Guillermo and Mauricio bought the 25-hectare farm in 1997. The land had been part of Finca El Injerto II, one of Guatemala’s most awarded farms, and the Rosales family named it La Maravilla (“the wonder”) after their reaction to the beauty of the land. At the time the parcel only had three Arabica coffee plants, and the farm was only accessible by horse or foot, and there was no sophisticated infrastructure, electricity or roads, but the Rosales had high hopes they could develop it into a successful coffee farm.

And so, with a lot of support from the other coffee growers in the region, the Ro­sales family planted the first 1.21 hectares of the farm. Some plants were donated by some of Mauricio’s dear friends and fellow coffee professionals, while the remaining 2,500 plants were bought from their neighbours at El Injerto. In the years that followed, Guillermo and Mauricio carefully planted out the rest of the farm, using Bourbon seeds from El Injerto, and Caturra seeds from the region of El Pajal, in San Antonio Huista. Meanwhile, foundations for the first drying patio were laid and de-pulping equipment was purchased to process the harvest in 2000.

Considering the pressing need to prepare for future harvests, Guillermo proposed cutting a road for four-wheel-drive vehicles, a project that received ready support from farmworkers, neighbouring producers and the wider Los Arroyos community. With pickaxes, hoes, and shovels on hand (not to mention tremendous determination!) workers began working on the road in 2001. In 2002, the first four-wheel-drive vehicle ascended the road to the centre of the farm — a very exciting and transformative develop­ment!

In 2005, Don Guillermo Rosales passed away at the age of 82. The farm had always held a special place in his heart, as he considered it his own personal oasis, away from any of life’s complications. He left the world knowing that his dreams for La Maravilla had come to fruition and that the foundation to produce exceptional quality coffee had been laid. Mauricio still gets emotional when remembering his dad, and will readily admit that a lot of the hard work done at farm is in his honour. 

Today, La Maravilla is run by Mauricio with assistance from his son Luis and farm manager Alfonso Mata. It has become a well-established farm with infrastructure on-site to process quality coffee, including fermentation tanks, drying patios and a treatment water plant, along with 14 rooms for seasonal workers to stay in during the harvest. Logistics and admin are managed by Andrea Morales, Mauricio’s right-hand person (and absolute gun!) who works out of Mauricio’s impressive new offices and warehouse in HueHue town.

The Rosales family is very keen on preserving the local environment at La Maravilla, and are active members of the Private Nature Reserve Association of Guatemala. Part of the estate is reserved as natural forests of cypress trees and other local tree species, which provide abundant natural water resources to the farm. The farm also grows several types of fruit trees and creole avocados. All water used during processing is treated and recycled, chemical herbicides are avoided, and vermicompost material is applied frequently to reduce the need for chemical fertilisers.


Huehuetenango (or HueHue as it is often called) is a stunning region located in the west of Guatemala near the border of Mexico. HueHue is known for being home to the Cuchumatanes mountain range, the highest non-volcanic mountain range in Central America, and for its vast ethnic diversity, which includes the Mam, Q’anjob’al, Chun and Jakalteko people. Before the Spanish invasion, the region was known as Xinabajul, which translates to “between ravines” in the local Mam language and is a reference to the numerous cliffs and steep hills found throughout the department. Pre-colonisation, the region’s largest city was Zaculeu (found in the outskirts of modern Huehue City), which translates to “white earth,” and whose ruins can still be visited today.

The department is vast, and includes a number of types of terrain that are suited to different forms of agriculture, depending on the elevation. Corn is the main staple of the lower regions, which transitions into coffee the further up one goes, with local pine farmed throughout the entire department. Huehue’s coffee-growing regions produce some of the most complex and celebrated lots in the country, and the region frequently appear in the top ten of the Cup of Excellence competition. This is in part due to the incredibly high elevations that coffee can grow (up to 2,000m above sea level), thanks to the dry, hot winds that blow into the mountains from Mexico’s Tehuantepec plain and protect the region from frost. These high elevations combined with a relatively predictable climate make for exceptional quality coffee. The highest elevations in Huehue, above 2,100m above sea level, are quite dry and rocky, so most farmers dedicate themselves to growing potatoes and herding sheep, goats and llamas.


The topography of La Maravilla is steep and irregular, making harvesting very labour-intensive and time-consuming. All coffee is picked by hand by a skilled team of seasonal workers, who come from as far as the Quiché department, though most live locally and join the farm each year. They do multiple passes throughout the harvest to ensure only the very ripest cherries are selected. The harvest season at La Maravilla is from January to April. For quality control purposes Mauricio and his team monitor every step of production, from hand-picking right through to final delivery, and carefully cup each individual day lot from each plot. 

Mauricio mainly produces fully washed coffees, such as this lot.  Cherries are carefully sorted and pulped in a traditional wet mill on the same day that they are picked, using water from the Los Arroyos natural spring. Wet parchment is then fermented in tank, washed again and sun-dried on Mauricio’s pristine patios or raised beds for 15-20 days. Once dry, the coffee is rested in parchment in a timber warehouse built on the farm.


We adore Maurico – he is warm and hard-working and somewhat of a visionary when it comes to coffee production. Over the last decade, he has constantly invested resources into his farm,  implementing processing improvements and investing in infrastructure that is focused on producing the very best quality coffee. In 2011, he received his first Cup of Excellence award, and has received a string of them since. We were lucky enough to purchase our first lot of La Maravilla in 2013 in the Cup of Excellence competition and fell in love with the coffee. This love affair has continued, and we have purchased it nearly every year since. We are always impressed with the quality and distinct profile of this coffee – which is in no doubt a result of the hard work, love and dedication that Mauricio and his team put into every single lot of coffee they produce.