Guatemala Bella Carmona, named after the Hacienda Carmona estate that produces it, comes from the heart of Guatemala’s Antigua Valley – one of the most beautiful and best-preserved colonial cities in the world. Besides its beauty and rich history, Antigua is also one of the best-known coffee production areas in Guatemala.
The farm dates back to the late 1800’s, but didn’t feature coffee until the Zelaya family purchased it in 1908; the same family still owns it to this day. A hundred and four years and four generations later, Luis Pedro Zelaya Zemora is now running the operation and has transformed the crops into one of the most delicious and celebrated coffees in all of Guatemala.
Hacienda Carmona is blessed with a unique micro-climate in the Antigua valley, as well as plenty of hillside sunlight exposure and well-draining volcanic soils. But high quality coffee is almost just as much of a result of hard work and dedication as it is of great environmental conditions.
The Zelaya family is fiercely dedicated to their 100-hectare farm and has even built a beautiful coffee mill where they process their coffee themselves. The Zelaya family is also very concerned about ecological stability – all of their coffee is grown in sustainable and environmentally friendly systems. Not only all of the coffee is shade grown, but special efforts are being done in developing ecofriendly wet mills
Bella Carmona is a trademark in Guatemala, being renown for its quality for decades and having been awarded several prizes in their long history.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Guatemala Hacienda Carmona, from Ritual Coffee Roasters in San Francisco, California, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Antigua, Guatemala
farm: Guatemala Hacienda Carmona
producer: Maria Zelaya
elevation: 1500 – 1700 meters above sea level
cultivars: Bourbon, Typica
process: fully washed, patio dried
The aroma of the Guatemala Hacienda Carmona is absolutely delightful, brimming with scents of stone fruit, raisin, honey, and red berries.
From the very first sip of the cup immediately post-brew, this coffee is intensely juicy and popping with incredible flavors. A thin coating of nougat and vanilla spreads over the tongue, carrying with it mildly sweet (but incredibly juicy) flavors of plum, raisin, dried apricot, and fig.
As the coffee cools, it gets even juicier and much livelier; it even becomes a little bitter. There’s are flavors of tart spiced cherry, white peach, and silky Jonagold apple that have emerged here in the back half of the cup, and it introduces dark chocolate. The coffee has an immensely tart malic acidity thanks to an explosive white grape acidity that finishes with a long, lingering aftertaste.
Medium body; juicy mouthfeel; malic acidity; dry finish.
After cupping this coffee several times now, it is a consistent favorite here at the Table. I am happy to report that Ritual Coffee Roasters’s Guatemala Hacienda Carmona was off the charts.
In the past, this coffee has been sweet and sugary and subtle—like most Guatemalan coffees. Ritual’s take on it, though… Boy oh boy. It really reminded me of a high-grown Colombian coffee. Being incredibly lively, very juicy, brimming with flavor, and showcasing a sparkling clarity, the word “dynamic” doesn’t even begin to describe this cupping experience.
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.