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WHY WE CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF ANTIGUA

Written By Tayt Bale 16 Sep 2019
WHY WE CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF ANTIGUA

Every March we hit the road to experience first-hand the ethos and ethics of our producers and taste each season’s harvest. Our travels can take us from Costa Rica to Ethiopia, but Guatemala has a hold over us.

Most of the farms we need to see here are a two-day drive into the mountains, which is why we base ourselves in Antigua – it’s more efficient if the farmers can come to us because we’ll usually cup around 200 coffees a day. And that catches up with you if you’ve been out on the mezcal the night before.

Coffee buying trips are often over romanticised but travelling to Antigua is never a chore. It's a beautiful city with a rich heritage – its Spanish Baroque buildings have (mostly) survived a spattering of 17th-century earthquakes and the whims of its 37 assorted volcanoes over the years, which gives the streets a crumbly yet colourful feel.

We guess you could say that Antigua is a “cool” city now. Tourism is starting to catch up on the coffee trade as a major source of income for the locals and there are food truck parks and craft beer bars that could rival what we’ve got here in Melbourne. 


WHY WE CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF ANTIGUA! from ST ALi on Vimeo.

It’s also where green bean buyer Lucy Ward first met Renardo Ovalle. Back in 2017 Ronardo sent Lucy a DM on Instagram just as she bounced from a sub-par meeting with a potential supplier. She replied on an impulse, and a few dozen coffees at his cupping lab later we were in love. She booked him on the spot. 


Three harvests in and we’re still buying green beans from Huehuetenango-based Vides 58 farms because they’re super tasty. And because we know its owners, mother and son duo María Elena and Renardo Ovalle, do the right thing by everyone who touches their beans, from seedling to hessian sack. 

 

We’ve got four new-release single origins to choose from, all from Vides 58 family-owned and run Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. We think they’re some of the most complex beans Guatemala has to offer. It’s a pleasure to roast them for you.