Guatemala Palo Blanco
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It is with great sorrow that I inform you that we’ve reached the end of another MistoBox at the Table.

This was a really tremendous month for MistoBox, and an even more tremendous month for their subscribers. While MistoBox further expanded their roster of incredible roasters that they work with, their subscribers got to try some amazing Central American specialty coffees from four companies that have provided the industry with a lot of great coffees over the years.

Today’s coffee is the representation of a farm that has established itself as one of the premiere producers in all of Guatemala and a roaster that is continuing to lead the way for the American specialty coffee industry.

I couldn’t be happier for MistoBox for landing a coffee of this caliber.

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Guatemala Palo Blanco Select, from Barefoot Coffee Roasters in San Jose, California. Feel free to pull up a chair.

Finca El Socorro farm is located in Palencia, municipality of Guatemala department, 50 kilometers away from Guatemala City. The farm used to be part of Hacienda San Guayaba, property of Antonio López Colom in 1905. After he died, it was inherited to the youngest son Julio Colom Gómez Carillo, who sold it. For many years it was owned by different people until 1968, when Dr. Mario de la Cerda and his wife Maria Colom de la Cerda bought it back to the family.

In 1980, his son Juan de la Cerda Colom began to plant coffee. This is the fourth generation of owners. Juan de la Cerda and his son Juan Diego are now in charge of producing some of the best coffees in all of Guatemala. Finca El Socorro’s success is the result of a strict quality control through out the whole process, from the management of the plantation, to the picking and the wet milling.

Diego runs his farms with a focus on the details. The results speak loudly to the obsession with quality.

A few of their awards have included:

  • Second Place 2012 Guatemala Cup of Excellence Award
  • First Place 2011 Guatemala Cup of Excellence Presidential Award
  • Coffee of the Year award from the SCAA – 2011
  • Fourth Place 2010 Guatemala Cup of Excellence Award
  • Tenth Place 2009 Guatemala Cup of Excellence Award
  • Third and Fourth place 2008 Guatemala Cup of Excellence Award
  • First Place 2007 Guatemala Cup of Excellence Award

Finca El Socorro’s success is the result of strict quality control, from the management of the plantation, to the picking and the wet milling. The farm has an efficient ecological wet mill: it de-pulps coffee cherries dry, then transports the coffee and its pulp mechanically and recycles the water in the process. Then, the water is treated with clean production techniques, before allowing it back into the forest.

the basics:

origin: Palencia, Guatemala
farm: Finca El Socorro
elevation: 1750 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra
process: fully washed, patio dried
certifications: Direct Trade

the coffee:

The aroma of the Palo Blanco is subtle, but fragrant and sweet. Caramel, nuts, and cinnamon steam out of the cup with some mildly floral aromatics.

The first few sips of this cup and my palate is immediately greeted with silky and juicy fruits. Notes of stone fruits, like peach and nectarine, combine with the malic likes of pear and apple to create an incredible fruit stand’s worth of flavor. And let me tell you something else about this apple flavor—it’s not just apple, it’s more like a caramel-covered Granny Smith apple complete with shaved nuts.

As it starts to cool off, the cup starts to get a little zesty with flavors of lemon, but it’s the flavors up front that have gotten more intense that define the profile of this coffee.

Closer to room temperature, all of the flavors reach the heights of their intensities while butterscotch sweetness builds up from the bottom of the cup. More flavors also come forward the cooler the cup gets: white grape, lavender, plum, apricot, cherry, and orange peel.

Medium body; silky mouthfeel; white grape acidity; clean finish.

the bottom line:

The Guatemala Palo Blanco Select, from Barefoot Coffee Roasters, is truly exemplary of everything I love about Guatemalan coffees. It has the soft, subtle, and exotic complexity of a very fine Guatemala—to the nth degree. It is sweet, crisp, and bursting with juicy fruits.

I couldn’t get enough of this coffee and it pains me that it didn’t last very long at the Table. This coffee was like the best birthday present ever—well, at least it made me feel like it was my birthday every time I drank it. This is a really special one that I’d urge anybody to purchase.

Did you like this? Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome here at the Table! Pull up a chair and speak your mind by entering a comment below. Also remember to like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!

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