barismo coffee

Fernando Diaz at Santa Ana.

Fernando Diaz at Santa Ana.

 Producer Fernando Diaz
 Region Pueblo Nuevo Viñas, Guatemala
 Elevation 1600 - 1800 meters
 Process Fully Washed & Dried on Raised Beds
 Variety Bourbon & Catuai
 Harvest January 2015 - April 2015
 Storage GrainPro™
 Relationship Second Year Direct Trade

Santa Ana

tangerine, pomelo, hazelnut, lemon

Santa Ana lies in the southern portion of Guatemala, not more than an hour or so from Guatemala City with no traffic.  On the drive up, we passed a soccer field named 'Estadio Flor del Cafe' or the coffee flower stadium, so we knew we were entering a serious coffee production area. The area is beautiful, and being outside the coffee buyer favorite areas of Huehuetenango or Antigua, it feels much more isolated and less traveled by other coffee buyers.

Fernando Diaz, owner & manager, is a calm and charming person who cares deeply about returning his farm to the days when it had high placement in the Cup of Excellence, and long term going a bit farther.  He takes this in stride with his other important goals, to enjoy the land and what it offers by sharing his experiences with his family.  Many of the discussions we had centered not around ambition but desire to have and provide a good quality of life for his family and the families living on the farm.

The property as a whole — Santa Ana y Anexos — is a combination of four farms and one wet mill. Fernando’s father used to run the property as one main farm, but had split the property up amongst his four children, and the Anexos were born. One of the four retained the main name of Santa Ana, while the other three were given new designations, but all of them are currently under Fernando’s care.

Once we toured the farm and walked the many sub plots on the farm, we requested a few followup samples from plots that looked unique and those we felt held potential. Ironically, the lots we picked out already composed most of the samples we chose from touring the farm. Fernando also dropped us one extra sample to show his picking vs the normal 'ripe' standard. It allowed us to cup side by side samples of picks that measured differently in the sweetness of the coffee cherry but were prepared the same. We know this because Fernando is doing all of his picking based on sample Brix measurements with logging and sample roast testing with three different quality consultants in Guatemala. Add in his intensive separation of lots plus detailed data logging of patio coffees and this makes him one of the most organized farms we will work with this year.

Fernando takes a pretty relaxed approach for someone who is massively overhauling his farm. He has filled a large nursery with coffees acquired from his friend (and ours) Luis Pedro Zelaya of Bella Vista Mill. What you'd expect from Fernando with all this investment and attention to detail is a driving ambition. What you've got is an analytical engineer looking at the next 10 years for these farms. As cool and intriguing as his projects are, the farm has many obstacles to overcome in the next five years. As most of the farm is planted with varying canopies of evergreens and native trees, the entire mountain feels like a bit of a mashup of varied growing scenarios. Depending on which piece of land you are on, you have different sun patterns, different soil, and often different plantings covered by varying shade types.