The city of Antigua in Guatemala is one of the most stunning coffee growing regions in world to visit, and the coffee has built an enviable reputation for excellent quality over many many years. The city itself is steeped in the history of the old Central American colonial capital and still retains a unique mix of Spanish and Mayan culture. If you look up from the criss-cross of cobbled streets Antigua’s unique geography that defines the coffee from the micro-region is inescapable. Three vast volcanoes, Fuego, Agua, and Acetenango form a ring around the region and their shelter provides a cool and dry micro-climate perfect for coffee growing. The edge of the city merges seamlessly with the surrounding coffee farms which rise up onto the lower slopes of the volcanoes to heights of around 1900m above sea level.
San Agustin sits on one of these steep volcanic slopes to the east of Antigua and has an unusually cool micro-climate for Antigua because it sits mostly north facing. This means with a little less sun the coffee ripens a little slower and sugars develop over a little more time. This certainly seems to benefit the coffee and the farm has already collected two Cup of Excellence awards in the last decade since the highly regarded farmer Ricardo Zeyela took over the once abandoned farm.
When roasted a little fuller, Antigua coffees are renowned for their rich chocolate aromatics and creamy, dense mouthfeel. We’ve taken this approach with San Augustin and a rich dusted cocoa note runs through the flavour profile from beginning to end. Look for front end aromas of rich molasses and amaretto, leading through to a sweet clove and stewed raspberry finish. The supporting orange citrus and red grape like acidity adds structure but has been muted with the roast, and the mouth feel is big, dense and creamy.
A tip for brewing this coffee for most enjoyment is to let the water temperature come off the boil to around 90 - 92 degrees centigrade. Brewing at this lower temperature with a french press (and even lower with an aeropress) helps the luxurious chocolate aromas and supporting sweet molasses flavours come to the fore. In a filter look for more of the caramel aromatics, along with the red fruit notes and cedarwood smoke from the developed roast. Of course, this developed roast style lends itself perfectly to espresso – here amaretto and cocoa flavours are supported by a dense sweet mouthfeel.