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Origin Trip to Guatemala


In summary, this trip to Guatemala was all about exploring ad learning about a coffee we first came across years ago. To explore, learn and meet the farmers, the farms, the wet and dry mills, the exporters and to cup and see our coffee at Origin, to even pack it into the very container that then made it’s way to Cork. It has been a very rewarding once in a life time experience to be able travel the full story behind a coffee we have bought, developed and refined over the years to bring to our customers and the people of Ireland.

We have been buying Guatemalan Coffee from Nadine of Primavera coffee since 2013. Nadine is part of a 5th generation coffee family who have worked in many levels of coffee in Guatemala – owning farms, mills and exporting. Developing the relationship to this level takes time and great trust.

In 2022 we came across some great coffee from various small farm-holder lots in the Del Valle (valley) region of Jalapa, just outside of Guatemala city. Initially we bought a few pallets but it proved to be very popular, so with the 2023 harvest we bought a full container and it became immensely popular. So, now with the 2024 harvest we decided to lock in 2 containers and offer it as a new addition to our discounted mainstay options available to cafes for espresso service on bar. The crop is once again incredibly stable, with notes of Dried Mango, Date & Vanilla – nothing short of outstanding on espresso. We are thoroughly excited about this coffee.

Making such a commitment we decided we should go meet the farmers who grow the coffee, the wet and dry mills and see Nadine’s setup for ourselves.

Brock Lewin

We let Nadine take us on the tour, which was kind of back to front, so I will take you on this journey in reverse so that the coffee journey makes sense for you: from the farm where the coffee is grown to wet mill & dry mills where it is processed and then to the cupping lab where we assessed it.

Day 2 – farms

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In the afternoon we went to Marvin Carias’ farm – nestled in a wonderful valley (Del Valley) about 3hrs from Guatemala city in Jalapa. Whilst the Del Valley coffee we buy is a blend from small farm holder lots in this region, Marvin’s is the main farm. It was a such a delight to meet this man, and to bring gifts and even some of his coffee back to him, roasted by us in Ireland. He thanked us many times and appreciated the support we bring to him and all the families in the region. We were delighted to see great environmental initiatives being undertaken in the area – conservation of water was of primary importance and necessity really. Interestingly though Marvin collects all of the chaff off the cherry, piling it into a huge mound to start decomposing it, then transfers to big wooden beds covered in plastic where he breeds worms and compost, which he then sells to local farms.

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This was a kind of micro biosphere, it just felt like it was a place that was in complete balance.

Brock Lewin

In the morning we cross a river in our 4×4 to visit Carlos Durans’ farm – a beautiful environment haven of sorts. The biodiversity here was absolutely splendid. So many birds, ponds with fish, fruit trees like bananas, oranges, melons, and other citrus to feed squirrels (so they don’t eat the coffee cherries) but also to provide shade and mulch to conserve water, plus root vegetables, chickens and of course coffee trees. This was a kind of micro biosphere, it just felt like it was a place that was in complete balance.

DAY 2 – WET MILLS & dry mills

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First stop of the day on Day 2 though was a wet mill. This is where the farmers bring their coffee to be processed to Parchment stage. Water conservation was again high on the agenda. The first step is to remove the bulky husk off the coffee cherries where it is then let soak in wet tanks for 15 to 24hrs. This is where the all-important fermentation takes place.  After this it is then washed down a series of water channels to where it is separated from the water and is in parchment form (that is the green bean with a hull on it). Here it is laid out on patios to dry over a series of days (weather depending) until it reaches a stable 12% moisture content.

At the very start of the day we visited Nadines Dry Mill, located just outside of Guatemala city. This is where the farmers bring the coffee in parchment form, after the wet mill, for it’s final stage of de-hulling, cleaning, sorting for size and defects, weighing and bagging. It is a loud, noisy and dusty environment with massive machines that move and shake the coffee to it’s final destination – a 70kg jute bag. This really was a rewarding moment for Brock as they just happened to be loading our container – see the videos for that moment and Brock wobbling his way to drop the 1st bag into the container. Much respect for the team of 3 that then went on to load the other 269 bags into our container as well as another 2 containers for export .. a total of 60T that day!


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This was an easy day, and glad for it after our 24hrs door to door trip from Cork. A late enough start where we began with a visit to Nadine’s café roastery and cupping offices in the city. We cupped some 32 coffees just to calibrate our palates. In the afternoon we took a trip to Nadines dry mill for a detailed look and examination.


We also had a Day 3 … where we cupped some 800 times in Nadines’ offices! The best part of that day was tasting so many different lots from the Jalapa region where we bought our coffee … and noticing very little difference in the cups, which is exactly what we want.

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