El Socorro Maracaturra
Orange Blossom, Apple & Cherry pie, vanilla bean
Regular price $26.00
alt: 1750 MASL
farm: Finca El Socorro
producer: Juan Diego de la Cerda
Finca El Socorro has been in Juan Diego de la Cerda’s family for generations. Under Juan Diego’s tenure, Finca El Socorro has become synonymous with Specialty Coffee in Guatemala. Having first won the Cup of Excellence in 2007, Juan Diego managed to do so a second time in 2011, and again in 2020 with his Geisha variety. During this time Finca El Socorro has had consistently strong showings in the competition, often placing in the top five. You can be certain if you’re drinking a cup from Finca El Socorro, you’re experiencing some of the finest coffee Guatemala has to offer.
The farm itself is located near the town of Palencia in the Guatemala Department of the country. In total the farm is 700 hectares large, but only 85 hectares are reserved for coffee production. A similar amount is used for dairy production, with the remainder dedicated as a nature reserve for migratory birds and regional species. The altitude ranges between 1540 - 1860 meters above sea level, making it ideal for growing dense hard bean specialty coffee.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Juan Diego is always exploring new ways to improve and expand the offerings from Finca El Socorro. Best known for their Bourbon, Java, Maracaturra, Pacamara, and Geisha varieties, Juan Diego also sets aside plots of land for exploring how less established varieties perform at different altitudes on the farm. A prime example of this is his Purpurasea plot. This phenotype expression discovered on the farm causes the leaves of the coffee plant to take on a purple and dark green coloring, with the coffee cherries showing a dark burgundy color rather their usual bright red.
All processing is done on-site at the farm. Processing at high altitudes can be challenging, as hot days and damp nights can cause swings in temperature and humidity. To overcome this, Juan Diego utilizes multiple drying techniques, with some lots being patio dried, others shade dried, and with periodic use of mechanical driers. Most recently he has built African-style raised beds on a site separate from the mill. This area is flat with ample exposure to wind and sunlight. Using tarps, Juan Diego can control how much exposure the drying coffee receives from the elements, allowing him to extend or shorten drying times.
This uncommon varietal is a hybrid of the giant Maragogype bean and the more traditional and sweet Caturra. It is a productive plant but susceptible to leaf rust, so it must be carefully monitored. Maracaturra's unique characteristics, along with the dedication and skill of the producers at Finca El Socorro, create a coffee that is delicate, flavorful, and sweet.
After coffee cherries are picked and before the coffee is packaged for export, it has to be processed and dried to a stable moisture content. The ways in which this processing and drying is accomplished can vary. The most common methods can be summed up as: natural process, honey process, or washed process.
Washed processing is a fairly modern method that was first developed in Ethiopia in the 1950s. Over the decades its utilization has spread to most coffee-producing countries, as its ability to consistently create quality coffee helps ensure producers get the best price possible for their coffee. In this process, freshly harvest coffee cherries are sorted, first by hand based on visual ripeness, and then by density. To sort by density, cherries are placed in a channel of water. Under or over ripe cherries float and are removed from the water, while dense ripe cherries sink to the bottom. From here the cherries move onto a depulper, a machine that removes the skin and fruit of the coffee cherry. At this point, a thin layer of pulp, often referred to as mucilage, still remains attached to the outside of the coffee seed. To remove this mucilage, microbes in the environment are utilized through the process of fermentation. The coffee seeds are moved from the depulper to tanks, usually with water, and are allowed to ferment usually between 12-36 hours. During fermentation, microbes break down the sugary mucilage, allowing it to be easily removed. Temperature and other environmental factors affect how long this process takes. Once fermentation is complete, the coffee seeds are rinsed again with water to remove the broken down mucilage. The seeds are then moved to patios or beds, where they may be sun or shade dried, or a combination of both. During this time the coffee is turned to ensure even drying and continuously sorted to remove defective or damaged seeds. Drying is considered complete once the moisture content of the coffee reaches 10-12%. At this point its collected and packaged before further preparation for export.