Once in awhile, you come across something so good, it stops you in your tracks. And then you realize that other people are onto the goodness, too - popular things aren't always quality, but occasionally there is greatness so true that it can't be watered down by the mainstream. (Recent examples on our mind: "Miss Jackson" by Outkast. Salted caramel ice cream. Converse Chuck Taylors.) In our little corner of the coffee world, that golden nugget is Stumptown's Guatemala Finca El Injerto Bourbon. Don't get us wrong: we love all the single origin coffees that we serve; each one is special and has its own shining qualities. But this coffee ya'll...it's bonkers how consistently rich, nuanced and just unfailingly good it is year after year. People go nuts for this stuff - seriously, it's got a following - and it's not hard to see why. Mixed citrus, chocolate layer cake, cognac and champagne notes are supported by a buttery, brown sugar-y structure for a highly enjoyable cup.
Stumptown sources these gorgeous beans from Arturo Aguirre and his son Arturo Jr. who run Finca El Injerto in Guatemala City. They are 3rd and 4th generation coffee farmers carrying on the tradition started by Mr. Jesus Aguirre Panama in 1900. Over a century later, they are knocking it out of the park, and continuing to innovate and improve on their processes. They are staunchly committed to sustainable farming methods, avoid the use of insecticides (know how they manage weeds? with a machete), and filter the water used in wet milling before returning to the rivers which prevents pollution. Nearly their entire farm runs off a micro hydroelectric power plant. Recently, they've been working on adding a second fermentation tank, tiling the washing area and all of the tanks. They're also meticulous with their coffee cherry handling: for the selection process they use cherry flotation to sort by density, extend the fermentation time to up to 72 hours to counter the cold at their altitude, double wash and soak the cherries, and pre-dry the beans before low-temp drum drying. They've got their deal down pat, and it shows: their product is always superb.
They've also modernized with the times: Finca El Injerto has Facebook and Twitter pages. They own and operate a coffee shop to showcase their prized coffees and aim to be an educational hub for Guatemala and tell the story behind every cup of coffee they serve (hey...that sounds familiar!). And most importantly, they treat their workers with respect and care. They've built brand new houses for many of their workers, updated their housing to include gas cooking stoves (safer than wood), built a maintenance room and new showers and bathrooms for workers. They run a clinic which hosts a physician every 15 days. They constructed a playground and nursery for their workers' children, which allows for childcare during the harvest. And going above and beyond, they pay twice the hourly wage as their regional competitors. In trade for all of these benefits, they have very high expectations of their pickers.
See more about their social responsibility programs here. Learning about all of these incredible things Finca El Injerto are doing makes our hearts beat faster and brings a little tear to our eye. For real, this is the stuff that we are all about: bringing the best coffees to you from farms and producers that run clean, ethical, smart businesses. That their coffee is so delicious is pretty much an awesome bonus. Thank you Finca El Injerto, and thank you Stumptown for bringing this coffee to us! To learn more about this farm, check out this passionately written Stumptown blog post from 2007, and this producer page from Stumptown's website.
And come by HubBub to try a Chemex or buy a bag to enjoy this coffee while it's still in season!