Finca El Pilar is located in the mountain forests of Guatemala just outside Antigua. While it is a working coffee farm, most of the land is dedicated to conservation activities. This remarkably well-preserved natural reserve of endemic forest and wildlife is home to more than 130 species of birds. They are most well known for their hummingbirds; thriving thanks to a specially designed garden complete with feeders created especially for them.
You must cross a wooden footbridge to enter Finca El Pilar; from there you can traverse the infrastructure of rock and wooden paths all the way up to the cloud forest. To say this coffee is shade grown using bird friendly native trees would be an understatement. In fact, you can still find coffee growing wild amongst the pine and oak trees.
Finca El Pilar is a small paradise located in the mountain forests of Guatemala. Although it is a working coffee farm, only a small area is given over to production, with the rest being dedicated to conservation activities. It has an infrastructure of trails for bird watching, which spread through the farms coffee plantations as well as the mountain and cloud forest, pine and oaks. One of the main attractions on El Pilar farm is in the zone of hummingbird’s feeders where it is possible to spot a wide variety of species that inhabit the area. The farm is part of the Antigua Guatemala Important Bird Area
The farm prizes both conservation and ecotourism. While they’re setting aside pristine mountain habitat for wildlife, they also contribute to the community including providing it with clean water.
Although El Pilar is under the management category of a farm, it is dedicated more to conservation activities than production, with the exception of a small area of organic coffee. El Pilar also provides water to the nearby communities, and you will find there Cloud and Mountain Forest, with a large diversity of birds. An additional attribute is the nine hummingbird feeders, which make it possible to see as many as seven different species feeding at the same time.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Guatemala Finca El Pilar, from Forty Weight Coffee Roasters in Brooklyn, New York, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: San Juan Sacatepequez, Atitlan, Guatemala
farm: Finca El Pilar
producer: Juan Carlos Chen
elevation: 1500 – 1900 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra, Bourbon, Typica
process: fully washed, patio dried
certifications: Organic, Antigua Guatemala Important Bird Area
method: Hario V60
grind: 17, Preciso
coffee: 30 g
water: 420 mL
pour: 2:00 pulse pour, 1:00 drop
The aroma of this Guatemala Finca El Pilar is massive and it comes booming out of the bag as I tear the packaging open, with big scents of hazelnut, cocoa, and citrus, erupting like a volcano.
Whoa. My goodness. This is a coffee with a lot of bite. The first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew are hot and spicy; and I don’t mean temperature “hot,” I mean hot hot. This coffee is akin to a Mexican hot chocolate, with cocoa nibs, raw honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, and poblano peppers. Yes—poblano peppers. That note comes surging to the front of every sip, nipping at the tip and sides of the tongue.
As the cup cools off, all of those flavors come together and fade into the background, providing a more stable base than it had up front, but that spiciness doesn’t back off. Meanwhile, a surge of sweet orange juice, red grape, cherry tomato, and pear streams down the center of the tongue, leaving behind a finish of macadamia, black pepper, and bittersweet dark chocolate lingering in the aftertaste.
Medium body; honey mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Wow. Forty Weigh Coffee’s Guatemala Finca El Pilar is crazy. Crazy flavorful, crazy complex, crazy unique.
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever tasted a Guatemalan coffee quite like this one. I think I’d be hard-pressed to think of any coffee I’ve had that was quite like this one. Sweet, spicy, savory… This coffee runs the gambit.
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!
Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.