Guetemala San Gerado Coffee Beans 340 gm - Propeller Coffee
Tasting Notes: Caramel, Fudge, Yuzu
Altitude: 1650 meters
The San Gerardo farm is located in Moyuta, Jutiapa in the Nuevo Oriente region, in a sub-tropical rain forest where clouds begin to settle at about 2 pm every day. The Recinos family has been producing coffee since 1870 - amazingly 150 years! Jesus Recinos’ great grandfather started planting coffee more than 75 years ago. Jesus is a firm believer in nutrition and his theory is that a well-nourished plant is a healthy plant, and therefore much more resistant to disease.
The microclimate of the area is certainly unique to the area! The altitude and proximity to the ocean bring in the daily fog that supplements the rainfall (even when the rest of the country experiences a drought) and provides some sun cover. The unfortunate downside is that they also sometimes get unseasonable frost, which can be damaging to the coffee trees. It's a delicate microclimate that is really only understood and properly managed when you experience it for many years (150!)
Jesus's growing strategy is very hands-on and numbers-driven. He rotates new and old plants on a rigid schedule so that he knows what percentage of trees in each field are in each year of growth at any given time. He lets them grow for 5 years when they're just past maximum productivity, then stumps them. If healthy, most will sprout new trunks and sort of "start over", but with an established root system.
He explained how he calculates his fertilizer needs by counting the "knots" (bud clusters) on the coffee trees after flowering. He'll count the buds on a few trees, extrapolate to the whole field, and predict the yield of coffee cherries he can expect. Fertilizer needs are proportional to cherry yield mass because that's mostly where those nutrients are going. But he needs to fertilize before he sees his final yield and uses his extensive experience and knowledge to approximate these needs each year.
He grows mostly single-varietal lots, with fields planted with red/yellow bourbon, pacamara, and geisha.
Our team took a trip to visit Jesus a couple of years ago, be sure to ask them about their experience the next time you are texting or emailing!
About Propeller Coffee:
At every step in the process, we take the extra steps to make our coffee the most sustainable it can possibly be: we maintain direct trade relationships; roast our beans using energy-efficient approaches in our low footprint roastery; use biodegradable packaging for our coffee and offset our transportation with Bullfrog’s bio-diesel program.
Propeller has also attained B Corp status, a rigorous international certification for companies that create local prosperity, strong communities, and a sustainable environment.
Finding unique, high-quality coffees is a never-ending quest for us. Our ultimate goal is to purchase 80-90% of our coffee directly from farmers. Every coffee we buy must be chosen through a meticulous selection process. An inspection of the unroasted (green) beans is done to check for any visible defect such as insect damage, black beans, sour beans, broken beans or foreign matter. This rules out a lot of coffees - upwards of 80% of the world's coffees are poor quality and exhibit all sorts of defects that would never make the cut for us. If the sample passes this first test we will lightly roast 100 grams of it in our sample roaster. Then we will cup this sample according to SCAA cupping protocols. The purpose of cupping is to test for quality and flavour. We score all samples using SCAA cupping forms and on the cupping app Catador. If a coffee meets all our criteria (free of defects, & has good acidity, body, balance, and sweetness) and scores high enough, we will consider purchasing it.
2016 Propeller was named micro-roaster of the year by industry trade publication Roast Magazine.
Using a piece of roasting software called Cropster, we record every single batch of coffee that we roast on our Loring SmartRoaster (uses about 85% less energy than a traditional machine). We use this collection of roast profiles a bit like a recipe book for coffee. When a new coffee arrives we first do a bit of homework to figure out a good initial recipe/profile to use on this coffee. We measure the moisture content and density, then check the bean varietal, growing conditions, and elevation, and then search our recipe book for a coffee that we’ve previously roasted that is similar to this new coffee. We will roast the coffee, then cup/taste it and discuss how we can tweak the roast profile to develop it to its full potential.