About This Coffee
Elmer Lopez is the owner of the farm "Los Pinos", meaning "The Pines". It’s a fitting name too: the farm, due to its impressive height above 2000 MASL, is home to a family of old, towering pines. He bought the farm of 18 hectares in 2013. Now at 48 years old, he continues laboring to pursue high quality, consistent coffees from year to year. His coffee is grown in the shade of regional trees such as Pine, Chalum, and Inga. Los Pinos is located in Santa Barbara, a municipality near Huehuetenango where rainfall is much more scarce compared to other regions in the area. The varietals that were planted for this lot include Caturra and Bourbon.
Elmer Lopez and Los Pinos are part of the renowned Vides 58 group. Vides 58 is a family company comprising six farms based in Huehuetenango, Guatemala and a state-of-the-art cupping lab in Guatemala City. While currently managed by Renardo “Nayo” Ovalle Vides and his incredible team, the Vides 58 legacy began sixty years ago in 1958 with Jorge Vides, Nayo’s grandfather. While employed as a full-time doctor, Jorge Vides traveled constantly, scheduling visits to his patients in various regions of the country. His passion for health led him to become Director of the National Hospital of Huehuetenango, which to this day bears his name. While visiting patients in Huehuetenango, Jorge came across a beautiful plot of land and he decided to purchase it and develop a new hobby outside of medicine. At this time, the land was covered in forests, and he proceeded to cultivate Bourbon and Caturra coffee varieties. His humanitarian sense extended beyond coffee production. In 1980, he founded a school that still runs on the farm, which has since been named after him and officially recognized by the Ministry of Education. Four years later, Anacafé named him ‘Distinguished Coffee Grower’ due to his success in production work.
Jorge’s family has continued to follow in his footsteps and Nayo, the current manager and promotor of these farms, has dedicated his time to variety diversification, improved quality and equipment advancement. He works alongside a wonderful team of dedicated and motivated professionals, one of whom is his wife Jaqueline, a Q grader who spends much of her time in their stunning lab in Guatemala City. The Vides 58 approach to business is one of great professionalism, focused on cultivating long-term mutually beneficial relationships. The entire team radiates with kindness and has the unique ability to put those around them immediately at ease. Conversations and visits are never rushed, and Nayo invests an incredible amount of time and care to making sure visitors are getting the most out of their experience.
History of Coffee in Guatemala
Although coffee was brought over from the Caribbean in the mid-18th century by Jesuit priests, it was used primarily as an ornamental plant and garden crop for 100 years in Guatemala. Coffee wasn’t widely traded, however, until commercial production began in the 1850s. The volcanic soil and various micro-climates proved ideal for growing coffee in Guatemala. Coffee, within a generation, became the country’s most important crop. In 1860, Guatemala exported 140,000 pounds of coffee, and just 25 years later, the country was exporting over 40 million pounds. Large numbers of coffee farmers were German immigrants responsible for many inventions and innovations related to coffee milling. Most of Guatemala’s coffee was exported to Germany until the First World War, when exports shifted to the United States.
Growing Coffee in Guatemala
Coffee farming practices are similar to other countries in the region, but Guatemala has an abundance of water, volcanic soil, and very distinct micro-climates compared to its neighbors. Although late to coffee, Guatemala recognized and responded to the needs of the emerging specialty coffee sector earlier than most coffee-producing regions. Anacafé, the coffee producers association in Guatemala, identifies seven growing regions: Fraijanes, the plateau south of Guatemala City; Coban, a rainforest region in the center of the country; Huehuetenango, highlands near the border with Mexico; Atitlan, primarily the volcanic mountains on the Pacific side of Lake Atitlan; San Marcos, between Huehuetenango and the Pacific Ocean; Oriente, the driest of the growing regions located near the eastern border with Honduras; and the most famous of all, Antigua, nestled among the volcanoes an hour’s drive southwest of Guatemala City.
Farm: Los Pinos
Elevation: 1900 - 2250 MASL
Variety: Bourbon, Caturra
Tasting notes: Strawberry, red currant, pomegranate, rhubarb, green grape, sweet lime, and soft florals.