Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews
A beautiful brew from the coffee-growing star of Central America
March means the rollout of a great single-estate coffee from Guatemala: Los Dos Socios is lovely, easy to drink, and highly enjoyable. I’m sipping it as I write and I have the feeling I’ll keep that up all day! It’s that good!
Guatemala has an ancient and highly esteemed history that goes back to the advanced Mayan civilization from about 2000 B.C. Coffee, though, is a relatively recent arrival—serious commercial planting started in the middle of the 19th century, primarily with German immigrant planters, about a decade after the demise of a nation-state that almost no one around these parts will have heard of. The Federal Republic of Central America was founded in 1823—less than 50 years after the Declaration of Independence of the U.S. It included what’s now Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Chiapas, and Guatemala. The Federal Republic started with much the same spirit as the U.S., as a democratic nation-state, but came apart in the course of its own Civil War in 1838. Had it continued on as the U.S. did, we would likely be thinking of all those places as the Central American corollary to California, North Carolina, or Texas. A century and a half down the road of history, Guatemala consistently produces some of the most flavorful coffee one can find anywhere. And some of the best of the best comes from an estate in the northern part of the country called Los Dos Socios. Here’s what the crew at the Coffee Company said:
The name was selected by Don Concepcion Villatoro Matias to refer to “the two associates” involved in producing coffee at his farm: himself and God. His approach has been a simple one since purchasing the farm in 1990: plant bourbon and caturra varietals under shade trees, tend them well, and keep parcels separated to maintain unique lots. His farm in Huehuetenango is up high with a view of the mountains, making for a lovely place to live and work. Huehuetenango is one of Guatemala’s prized coffee-growing regions, and with coffees as vibrant and exciting as this one, it’s easy to see why.
The flavor profile we’re getting out of Los Dos Socios is a thing of beauty: juicy blackberry notes, some really rich caramel smoothness, and a zing of bright papaya all working together. It reminds us of the coffee cherries we snacked on while visiting farms in Guatemala on our initial visit many years ago—the juicy, sweet, and tangy combination of flavors is a great way to describe the taste of the fruit surrounding a coffee bean. As long days of farm visits wore on, it was neat to see farmers picking a few cherries and snacking—even before it’s processed, roasted, and brewed, coffee can provide small moments to enjoy. We hope you appreciate all the hard work that went into these beans, and that you enjoy your brews of Los Dos Socios all the more for it!
I’ve been loving this great Guatemalan coffee, and drinking it regularly for the last few weeks. It’s got a wonderful combination of depth and delicacy, substance and subtlety, softness and strength. There is something special, hard to pin down, that makes it so eminently calming, comforting, and enjoyable. It has what architect Christopher Alexander, whose work I reference in “The Story of Visioning at Zingerman’s” pamphlet, describes: “In our lives, this quality without a name is the most precious thing we ever have.”