The American Barista & Coffee School in Portland, Ore., was kind enough to host a special tasting of 10 beautiful Guatemalan coffees (eight brewed manually, two pulled as espresso) sourced and repped by TG-LAB, and roasted by Mayaland Coffee yesterday afternoon.
This tasting was super special: Josué Morales of TG-LAB video conferenced in some of the producers from TG-LAB’s office/factory/roasting space in Guatemala City. As a lot of the attendees to this very well-attended session in Portland yesterday were baristas and cafe owners who had never had the opportunity to come face-to-face with the farmers who had grown the coffee they were enjoying, this was a remarkable experience.
Josué has been working with farmers from Guatemala for more then 10 years, helping them to improve their land and mills in an effort to earn them better prices for high quality coffee. He then sells the green coffee to roasters around the world. For example, Brandon Smyth, roaster and co-owner of Water Avenue Coffee, which is next door to the American Barista & Coffee School, buys coffee from TG-LAB. We were lucky enough to try some of it: a rare Maracaturra varietal that was like candy in the mouth.
But Josué also owns Mayaland Coffee, which is a roasting company located in Guatemala City. The coffees we tasted yesterday had all been roasted in TG-LAB and Mayaland’s factory space, which we saw when we took a video tour via Facetime.
It was a long session ”we were at the School for almost three hours. But attendees loved every second of it; they hung on Josué’s every word as he described each farm in detail, discussed challenges facing the farmers, success they had enjoyed, and the way they lead their lives.
I’m not an expert taster, but these really were some spectacular coffees; it was a total treat to experience them. It’s always fun to cup through coffees from one country but lots of growing regions ”there was even a coffee that Josué said grew on a farm located next door to a cardamom field, and the coffee really did have a hint of cardamom in the finish. Very interesting, very enlightening, and a lot of fun.