Highlighting Guatemala Pulcal
ORIGIN PROFILE: HACIENDA CARMONA
Owner: Maria Zelaya
Region: Antigua, Guatemala
Varieties: Bourbon, Caturra
Altitude: 1600-1900 (masl)
The lot of Pulcal currently on our menu marks the second consecutive year working with this well-respected farm in Antigua. We believe in this coffee and are stoked to share it with you. After last spring's visit to Carmona, we look forward to a continued partnership with Maria Zelaya and her family in the years to come.
Managed by the Zelaya family for generations, Finca Carmona is one of the oldest coffee farms in the Antigua region. Owned by Maria Zelaya since 1959, the farm continues to build upon a long history of coffee production with exports dating back to the early 1900's. The land is also home to Maria's award-winning herd of cattle, as well as a house that once belonged to the president of Guatemala. Her brother, Luis Pedro Zelaya Aguirre, and nephew, Luis Pedro Zelaya Zemora, have both been influential players in the coffee industry; their work has supported the development of many other farms in the region. In short, Carmona and the Zelaya family are legendary.
At Finca Carmona, three is the magic number with regard to their planting and pruning system. Part of a larger network of well-organized farms in Guatemala, Carmona plants its coffee trees in rows of three and stumps them every few years, making room for more light and air. This aggressive uprooting and replanting program is part of a dedicated three-year pruning cycle that keeps root systems intact while integrating young plants. Processing her coffees at Pulcal—the on-site washing station—Maria also uses this moniker for the highest quality coffees harvested later in the season from the farm’s top altitudes.
Celebrated for an impressive cherry selection, the farm's processing of this coffee is unique in that it all happens on site: wet milling, fermentation, and dry milling. After being pulped and dry fermented, the coffee is washed and spread on the patio to dry for 8-14 days (variable depending on temperature and humidity). The export of Pulcal is then coordinated through Bella Vista, a company managed by Luis Pedro Zelaya Zemora that further demonstrates his family's long-standing commitment to helping smaller producers in the region.
Image credits: David Stallings