Huehuetenango and El Quiche are two of the most ethnically diverse departments in Guatemala, and also produce some of the finest coffees the country has to offer. The lush highlands of Huehuetenango benefit from warm days and cool nights and showcase a variety of micro-climates that combine to create wonderfully nuanced coffees with balanced acidity and complex flavor profiles.
ASDECAFE, the Sustainable Coffee Association of Guatemala, includes several smaller cooperatives and organizations from the Huehuetenango and El Quiche regions of western Guatemala. The group’s goal is to bring high quality arabica coffees to the international market and maintaining a high level of environmental and social sustainability. This sustainability takes form in Fair Trade and organic certified farms, equal distribution of generated profits among members, and a commitment to quality and longevity in its relationships with clients and suppliers.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Guatemala ASDECAFE, from Tinker Coffee Company in Indianapolis, Indiana. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Huehuetenango, Guatemala // El Quiche, Guatemala
producer: smallholder farmers
association: ASDECAFE Cooperative
elevation: 1400 – 1800 meters above sea level
cultivars: Catuai, Bourbon, Pache, Catimor
process: fully washed, patio dried
certifications: Fair Trade, Organic
method: Kalita Wave
grind: 18, Preciso
coffee: 32 g
water: 500 mL
pour: 2:00 concentric pulse pour
This coffee opens with a really pleasant aroma—one that is classically Guatemalan; sweet and mellow scents of caramel, red berries, rose hips, and cinnamon.
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, my palate is greeted by a somewhat full-bodied coffee with pretty intense and lively red fruit flavors up front. A creamy base of honey, caramel, and earthiness spreads over the tongue while a flood of juicy red wine and rush over in over the top. The creamy and juicy textures combine to form something of a jellied mouthfeel that lifts in the finish to reveal a lingering aftertaste of mulling spices, cedar, and just a touch of roast.
As the cup cools off it gets much fruitier and much sweeter. It’s still a pretty full-bodied coffee, though, as these fruit flavors aren’t necessarily light and/or bright: red delicious apple, grape jelly, clementine, blackberry, and hot, spicy cranberry wine.
Full body; jelly mouthfeel; malic acidity; clean finish.
Tinker Coffee Company offered up a really solid tasting experience with their Guatemala ASDECAFE. It wasn’t a perfect coffee, it wasn’t one that was particularly exciting, but it was a really pleasurable experience overall; a warm, inviting comfort coffee.
It’s also a perfectly unintimidating coffee—one that would serve as a great introduction to the specialty coffee world.
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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.