Located in Acatenango, BioCafe is a 25 manzana coffee farm. The land has been farmed and owned by one family, the Olivias, for some time. In 2013, however, Soila Olivia leased the farming rights to Sergio Lopez, the owner of an organic fertilizer company (Bio Proceses de Guatemala).
Sergio is now running BioCafe as a model organic farm for his fertilizer. The lot I’m reviewing today represents a single day of picking and same-day processing by Sergio. In BioCafe’s first year, they picked, de-pulped, and dried the coffee themselves on a manual de-pulper and on their farm. They produced two small lots this way.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Guatemala BioCafe Farm, from OQ Coffee Company in Highland Park, New Jersey. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Acatenango, Guatemala
producer: Sergio Lopez
elevation: 1700 – 1860 meters above sea level
cultivars: Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai
process: fully washed, patio dried
1. The aroma of the Guatemala BioCafe is super intense. A big blueberry bomb explodes out of the big, backed up scents of milk chocolate and honey.
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, my palate is coated by the thick creamy texture of an immensely full-bodied coffee. Coupled with the milk chocolate, vanilla, and brown sugar flavors, the coffee has the mouthfeel and flavor profile of a White Russian. Well, a White Russian with big blueberry bomb, cherry, and rose hip flavors. It’s a lot like a natural Yirg, actually, but with none of the fermentation.
As the cup cools off, the flavors morph quite a bit. The blueberry is still there, but it’s not necessarily a big bomb; the creaminess of the cup intensifies too, as vanilla becomes a dominant flavor; I’m also now picking up flavors of cantaloupe, strawberry, peach, and a sweet red delicious apple acidity.
Full body; creamy mouthfeel; malic acidity; clean finish.
3. The aroma has now become much less intense, and its profile components have also evolved. Instead of a big blueberry bomb, I’m instead getting scents of honey, stone fruit, and faint floral aromatics.
As I take my first few sips of the coffee, its profile has changed considerably over the past two weeks. It’s a much lighter coffee now, both in terms of body and texture (much silkier and juicier now). A thin coating of salted caramel and honey spread over the palate, ushering in the juiciness of peach, nectarine, red grape, and the acidity of lemon curd.
Medium body; silky mouthfeel; citric acidity; dry finish.
You’re probably confused by my cupping notes, but here’s the thing—I could have written two totally unique, separate reviews for OQ Coffee Company’s Guatemala BioCafe; because, in a way, over the three weeks that I drank it, it became two different coffees.
The first time I drank it, just a few days off roast, I thought “Wow! This Guatemala is a lot like a really great natural Yirg without any of the flaws of one!” Full-bodied and supple with a big blueberry bomb, milk chocolate, and a sweet malic acidity.
The second week off roast, the coffee almost completely collapsed; not much going on. Or so I thought. Turns out it was just taking a week to morph into something else.
The third week off roast, suddenly the coffee was much lighter in body and texture, much more silky; it also had much better clarity and an almost all together different flavor profile (milk chocolate became salted caramel; blueberry bomb became mixed berry complexity; malic acidity became mellow lemon curd acidity).
And, what’s even more remarkable, both profiles were great. The Guatemala BioCafe was a really interesting, complex, and dynamic coffee.
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.