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Clifton Coffee - Guatemala: Santa Clara (Natural)

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Back again for the 2nd year, this is one of our all-time favourite coffees! It is so clean, well balanced and complex, and the cooked pineapple aromas and flavours of strawberry are perfectly offset against a slightly savoury & boozy brandy-like aftertaste. This coffee absolutely shines in an Aeropress or V60.
The Zelaya family has been growing coffee for over 100 years and four generations. This renowned family owns farms throughout Guatemala and grows one of only a handful of genuine Antigua coffees (coffees grown in the Antigua valley area bounded by three volcanoes; Agua, Acatenango and Fuego).

Returning for a 2nd year in our roastery, Finca Santa Clara is located on the fertile southern slopes of the Volcan de Agua in the Antigua Valley at 1,600-1,830 metres. Ricardo Zelaya has managed the farm, which was bought in 1974 by his Grandfather, since 1988 and is the 4th generation of the Zelaya family to have produced coffee at Santa Clara. Since taking over the farm, he has increased the size from 17 hectares of coffee plantations up to 95 hectares as well as building a wet mill, drying patios and a greenhouse to improve the processing of the coffee.

The Zelaya family is passionately committed to both quality and sustainability. The family’s farms are scrupulously well-managed right from the careful selection of varietals planted, to the close supervision of the dry and wet mills. The coffee is shade grown which protects the plants from direct sunlight, maintains soil health, and provides an important habitat for birds and insect life. The family’s mills are also eco-friendly. The water used in the wet processing of the cherries is drained into sedimentation tanks to prevent pollution of the local river systems and the pulp is transformed to humus by worm culture.

On Santa Clara, the workers are seen as members of the family, which is why, in 2010, Ricardo began a scholarship program to help workers pay for the education of their children. This program is funded by Ricardo and has the support of three buyers from abroad, who have supported the cause since 2012
Plans for the future of Santa Clara include planting two new varieties called Pacamara and Geisha as well as building a second greenhouse to dry larger volumes of coffee, as this type of drying improves the quality of the Cup.

Away from the plantation, Santa Clara’s goal is to have sufficient funds in the scholarship program to help all the children of the farm workers. Despite the fact that the program grows each year, at the moment there are still only 9 children with scholarships. It is hoped that with more overseas buyers help, all the children of the workers will be able to realize their dreams.

To produce the natural lot for the first time in 2014 only the very best perfectly ripe cherries were selected for this process. The beans were washed thoroughly in the receiving tanks and additional water was passed over them to remove any traces of dirt. They were then left in this tank over night.

Additionally the cherries were taken through the washing channels to insure there were no floaters and then transferred directly to the African beds inside the green house where they were turned every 30 minutes initially but as the beans dried out this was increased to every 15 minutes to ensure uniform drying. Drying took between 21 and 35 days depending on the weather to reach the desired moisture level.

We have long been big fans of naturally processed coffees, but this is probably the best we have come across in the past 2 years.

This is a truly incredible coffee in very short supply!

Altitude: 1550-1850 meters above sea level
Farm/Coop: Finca Santa Clara
Great for: Aeropress, Cafetiere, Espresso, Filter, With milk
Origin: Central America/Guatemala - Antigua
Owner: Ricardo Zelaya
Process Method: Natural (Dry) - and dried on raised beds inside a green house
Tasting Notes: Super well balanced & complex. Cooked pineapple, strawberry & a boozy brandy aftertaste
Varietals: Bourboncillo

When do we roast and post your coffee?

We roast 5 days a week on our Diedrich IR-12 & CR-25. We roast and rest our EQ & E1 espressos only to a maximum of 10 days so these coffees will arrive ready to use. All other single origins are roasted to order on the next available roast day & sent out within 24 hours.

We recommend a minimum of 10 days rest past roast day on all our espressos and a minimum of 2-5 days rest on all filter coffees.


All UK deliveries will be charged at a flat rate of £2.75 and sent via Royal Mail 24 service.

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Tasting record

Method Dose Grind Time Volume Comments
e.g. Espresso 18g Vario 1E 25secs 30ml A bit finer next time would be better.