Finca Santa Elisa
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Cultivated in the Acatenango Valley at the foot of Volcan de Fuego, one of Guatemala’s three highly active volcanoes, you would be right to think this coffee comes from a precarious place. But despite this fiery neighbor, the valley and mountain sides surrounding the volcano are filled with coffee. The area’s reputation for high quality coffee dates to before the major earthquake of 1776, which devastated the region and forced many of the inhabitants to flee to other parts of the country. While the 18th century exports from Central America were dominated by sugarcane, cardamom, and indigo, Spanish Jesuits cultivated coffee in valley and surrounding areas as early as 1730.
The fertile valley and its loamy volcanic soil provide Finca Santa Elisa Pachup with everything a coffee farm could ask for. The 1250-acre estate also has its own wet mill, which allows Carlos Fontan and his small team to handle all aspects of the post-harvest process in one place. Multiple picks are made throughout the harvest to ensure only ripe cherries are processed. The cherries are depulped, fermented for 18 to 24 hours and washed in canals to separate out less dense beans. The washed coffee is slowly dried on patios and raised beds and then finished in mechanical driers to reach a stable moisture for export.
This is our first coffee of the Sachimor cultivar, which is common in lower-elevation regions of Guatemala. The Sachimor and Catimor hybrids are increasingly important in the region because of their genetic resistance to coffee leaf rust and high yield potential. Not only are they great plants to grow, but they also give us some really nice coffees. The crimson grape and semi-sweet chocolate notes of this lot provide a nice balance between sweetness, acidity and bitterness, and the honey-like mouthfeel leaves you looking forward to that next sip.