Caramel, honey, and orange notes
Finca El Injertal sits on over 200 acres of land in the northwestern Guatemalan province of Huehuetenango. It was founded in the 1930s by Jose Olivio Chavez. The farm is located near several springs that provide water during the dry season. This same water provides ecologically friendly energy to run the coffee mill. 32 acres of the farm serve as a forest preserve where native species of trees are protected which provides refuge for indiginous wildlife. These efforts have resulted in certification by the Rainforest Alliance. The farm has an abundant source of organic matter for fertilization and the protected trees prevent soil erosion. Finca El Injertal is run by the founder's grandson, Jose Alejandro Solis Chavez.
Blackhall Roasters opened in 2007 as Bean & Leaf, a small family owned cafe/roastery in New London, CT. The roastery officially separated from the cafe in 2009 when it became impossible to keep up with the deliveries of 70 kilo coffee bags into the cafe.
A fork lift was required to handle the volume and the cafe was just not working for these deliveries. A workable local facility was found and the roastery moved and continued to supply the cafe as well as many other cafes and restaurants in Connecticut. In 2014 it was decided that a move to a larger facility would be advantageous as the old roastery had some insurmountable issues. A good location became available on Blackhall Street in New London and the move was made. A name change was being kicked around due to some confusion with the original name of Bean & Leaf (part of the operation was a loose leaf tea business). Several names were kicked around but "Blackhall" stuck.
Blackhall Roasters continues to produce small batch, human controlled roasts of the best green organic and mostly Fairly Traded coffees that can be sourced. A loyal following has remained firmly behind the company and make no secret of the fact that the owners will be run to ground if the coffee stops flowing... That's OK... Blackhall Roasters loves roasting great coffee and have no desire to do anything else!
It is almost as if Guatemala was set up as a “heavenly playground” especially for specialty coffee lovers.
It would be quite a challenge with any country to make a complete character-sketch of all of its coffees, but in the case of Guatemala it is next to impossible. The country has around 300 different micro-climates, due to its extraordinary location: in between the Gulf of Honduras, the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre. This mountain range stretches from Mexico into Guatemala, splitting itself into two ranges. These ranges - not to mention the other 9 ranges, spacious plains, rivers and no less than 34 volcanoes - provide the circumstances in which an enormous diversity in coffees have developed.
The Guatemalan National Coffee Association Anacafé designated 8 distinct coffee-regions. Using GPS technology and field surveys the association localized and qualified around 3000 plantations within these regions.
In spite of the many differences, all coffee varieties have one characteristic in common: 98% of Guatemalan coffee grows in a sheltered place: under the shade of trees. Does that make a difference? It does, because the canopies create not only biodiversity, but also a much higher quality of coffee. This ‘umbrella' prevents erosion, caused by heavy downpours during the wet season. It also levels the extreme differences in humidity and drought outside the wet season.
Acting as a parasol, the foliage also causes the coffee plant to grow at a slower rate, which results in more acidity (freshness) and body. The type of vegetation under which the coffee grows has such impact on the taste, that the different varieties of trees (e.g. Gravilea & Inga) are mentioned along with other characteristics of a coffee.
Water is amply available in Guatemala. Not unexpectedly then, a great many privately owned processing plants apply the wet method. The road is never far to one of the more than 5000 ‘mills', so processing can take place just hours after picking. From the perspective of specialty coffee, it is an interesting fact that almost all ‘mills' are privately managed. On top of its specific ‘terroir', the coffee is usually processed applying traditional knowledge. This is essential in creating a characteristic coffee!