Since our first visit in 2016 we have been thoroughly captivated by the approach to biodiversity at Finca San Jeronimo Miramar. Having utilised a number of their coffees as espresso options in the past it felt only right to let this years Catuai lot stand alone as a single origin filter roast. An inherent dense and creamy sweetness makes this the ideal comfort coffee for the colder mornings.
Finca San Jeronimo Miramar is now overseen by fourth generation producers, Giorgio and Gina Bressani. The first generation of Bressani family started out with a modest dairy farm on the slopes of Volcán Atitlán which has now grown to encompass honey, cheese, fruit and specialty coffee production. Since taking charge of the coffee side of this family operation Giorgio and Gina have set in motion a number of changes that now sets them apart as some of the most progressive producers we have meet.
Working in tandem with nature has lead to new ways and means of producing their own in-house fertilizer. The manure from their dairy cows now provide a natural source of soil nutrition and keeps many of the important elements of the ecosystem within the farm. Weeds are now cut back and allowed to provide organic mulch as opposed to spraying with chemicals whilst a small on-site lab has been breeding a natural response to coffee borer beetles. Cultivating natural fungus and microscopic wasps that target the borer beetles, the San Jeronimo team are using science to holistically fight back. Whilst these processes may be more time consuming the resulting improvement in soil health, coffee quality and the return of wildlife is certainly worth the effort. Providing more jobs for the local community and bringing different parts of the farm together for a common purpose also underpin the inclusive Bressani family ethos.
With more than 40 different varieties of coffee in production it is incredibly impressive to see these all processed as separate lots. This year we have selected a honey process Catuai from one of the higher altitudes on the farm. Not to be confused with their own bees producing honey, this process makes reference to the sticky mucilage layer of the coffee left intact after separating beans from cherry. The coffee is then moved on to an incredibly organised system of shaded drying beds before the dry mill later sorts and packs the coffee into sacks, using upcycled denim as the source material for all of their sacks. Looking beyond just their own farm, this knowledge and packaging process is made available to many other local farmers.
Described as "a hug in a mug" by our astute sales rep Laura Bradbury we find the resulting cup a perfect balance of dried apricot and cacao sweetness. With so many layers to this integrated ecosystem it is no surprise that the resulting coffees are as unique as the approach.