Blue Ayarza, Guatemala
Look for orange, cardamom and milk chocolate when roasted for filter; Anticipate notes of candied orange, dark chocolate, honey and a velvety mouthfeel when roasting for espresso.
Producer: Various small holders
Varieties: Catuai, Anacafe 14, Pache, Bourbon, San Ramon
Elevation: 1400- 2000 masl
The region of Ayarza, Guatemala is a special one, landmarked by a drastic landscape and the cold blue water from the Laguna Azul. The lake was formed by two massive volcanoes that collapsed and formed a large crater, also known as a caldera. The legends surrounding Laguna Azul are numerous and the bottom has never been found.
With high elevation, volcanic soil and distinctive seasons, this region has great potential to produce incredible quality coffees. The Ayarza wet mill was started in 2017, to purchase and process coffees from small producers who were not able to process their coffees on their own. The mill purchases coffee fruits from local growers, with strict quality standards in place. The mill will pay more for higher quality coffee, so there is an incentive to take extra care in picking coffee. Once the coffee fruits are purchased from each individual grower, the coffee is floated, and sorted to remove any defective coffee. Once initial sorting is complete, the coffee is depulped, fermented for 14 hours and washed. Coffee is then dried on patios around the mill for 3-7 days depending on the weather. When the coffee is dried, it passes through another battery of hulling and sorting to ensure the minimal amount of defects possible in the coffee. This lot of coffee is classified as SHB, strictly hard bean, and has a very consistent size to ensure even development throughout the roast.
Francisco Nájera is one of many local producers who use the Ayarza mill. Francisco was born in El Naranjo, in the Jutiapa department of Guatemala. He is 32 years old, and has been working in coffee production for over half of his life. Francisco tends to various small plots covering just under 1ha in total. He is classified as a small producer, and has excelled in the coffee production business despite the difficulties in production caused by uncertain weather conditions and pests. . He also dedicates part of his time to developing his coffee tree nursery, selling saplings to other farmers in the region.
The roast recipe for filter begins with a steep rise in temperature to 270˚C. This steep rise right at the beginning, is a lot higher than you may have seen in the past. This is due to the coffee being very dense and needing more heat to move into the drying phase at a standard rate. There is a big dip, at 1 minute and 41 seconds, as the coffee begins to take on some colour and turn yellow. The decrease in temperature allows for there to be a bit of a delay moving into sugar browning, and a bit more time to evenly dry the coffee before development begins. Colour change begins at 2 minutes and 30 seconds, and you can see the sugars beginning to brown. First crack begins at 5 minutes and the temperature stays the same until 6 minutes. This is to ensure that this very dense coffee continues to move through development and does not ‘stall’. We are minimising the ‘baked’ or ‘dry’ flavours that may present themselves if the coffee ‘stalls’ in development. The roast ends at 6 minutes and 35 seconds, with 1 minute and 35 seconds spent in the development phase. Expect flavours that may remind you of orange, raspberry and chocolate, with a cardamom aftertaste.
The espresso recipe begins with a less steep rise in temperature than the filter recipe, with 250 degrees at 45 seconds into the roast. There is a dip in temperature at 1 minute and 41 seconds, but it is not as extreme as that of the filter recipe. . The coffee enters the colour change phase at 2 minutes and 50 seconds, a bit later than that of the filter recipe. However, because the initial dip in temperature is less extreme, with a more gradual application of heat, the coffee moves into the first crack a bit earlier on, at 4 minutes and 40 seconds. Just like the filter recipe, the temperature stays at the 260˚C mark for the majority of first crack, to ensure that the coffee does not ‘stall’. The recipe ends at 7 minutes and 10 seconds , with 2 minutes and 30 seconds spent in the development phase. Anticipate flavours of candied orange, chocolate and honey with a velvety texture.