Guatemala San Carlos
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. Carlos Durán was the founder of these farms in 1850 and has passed them down
through generations. They are now owned by Ana Maria and Estela Durán, and the three farms
have been managed for over 50 years by Jorge Alberto Zamora. He was actually born on the San
Carlos farm and has watched many of the plants on this farm grow from seedling to adult. His father
before him also managed the farms for 65 years.
The main cultivar found on this farm is 100 to 135 year old Bourbon varietals. The varietals have
been grown and managed in a way that at a certain height, they bend and grow towards the ground,
many with the tops now touching the ground. This method is so that the harvesters are able to reach
all of the cherries without stunting the growth of this precious varietal.
The trick to keeping this varietal 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 the stripping the plants of every
leaf and cherry at the end of the harvest season helps keep their ancient Bourbons healthy and
productive. Aside from Bourbon, San Carlos also produces 40 year old Caturra and Catuaí varietals.
The main shade tree used on San Carlos is Gravilea. They prune the trees 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. Starting in December,
(sometimes even as early as November) and lasting through April, the harvest season of this farm is
remarkably longer than those of the neighboring 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
Grown at an elevation of between 1500 and 1700 meters above sea level, this coffee has a wonderful cup profile!
We taste: Chocolate, lemon, orange