Guatemala Finca San Carlos SCA 86.5
Region: Sacatapéquez Dept, Antigua Region
Altitude: 1500 - 1700 masl
Varieties: Bourbon, Caturra & Catuai
Flavour Profile: Apricot, Navel Orange, Assam Tea
San Carlos is a 16 hectare farm owned by the same producers of Villa Estela and San Ignacio, these three farms are historic farms located amongst the ruins, tiendas and restaurants of downtown La Antigua, Guatemala.
The owner is currently not running the farms directly but he asked Josué at Los Volcanes to take care of them directly, that brought out the farms full potential for specialty coffee production.
Carlos Durán was the founder of these farms in 1850 and has passed them down through his family different generations until today.
The main cultivar found on this farm is 100 to 135 year old Bourbon varietals.
These plants have been grown and managed and pruned in a way that at a certain height, around the average height of a Guatemalan, they bend and grow towards the ground, many with the tops now touching the ground. his method is so that the harvesters are able to reach all of the cherries without stunting the growth of this precious variety.
The trick to keeping this variety productive for so long is by alternating between plants harvested every year.
The natural cycle of a coffee plant is to produce every two years, however, humans have been able to stress the plants to produce every year.
On San Carlos the plants remain productive and live longer by allowing plants to rest each year between production.
Also stripping the plants of every leaf and cherry at the end of the harvest season helps keep their ancient Bourbons healthy and productive, through continuous regeneration.
Aside from Bourbon, San Carlos produces 40 year old Caturra and Catuaí varietals.
The main shade tree used on San Carlos is Gravilea and Inga.
Particular care is given to those shade trees who get pruned once every 10 years allowing the trees to grow higher than those found on traditional Antigua farms.
The taller shade trees help protect the plants from the frost characterised by the cool Antigua nights while allowing a breeze to pass through the plantation to keep a lower level of humidity.
An interesting fact about this farm is the duration of their harvest season that start in December, sometime even November and lasting all the way through to April, the harvest season of this farm is remarkably longer than those of the neighbouring coffee farms.
Most farms in this region are only in harvest from January to March.
How they manage to achieve this long lucrative season remains a mystery as nobody around had been able to figure it out yet.