Those fortunate enough to have travelled throughout Central America will know that one of her jewels is Guatemala. Active volcanoes enrich the soil, creating an incredibly fertile landscape that is home to dense forests, exotic birds, and rare orchids. Mayan ruins are strewn alongside majestic lakes, adding historical importance to what is already one of the world’s most biologically significant and unique ecosystems.
Today, as the country celebrates 30 years since the end of civil war, the landscape is home to some of the best coffee farms in the world. La Soledad has been the farm of the Perez family since 1895 and a key supplier to Coffee Supreme since 2010. It is one of those farms that has helped to shape Guatemala’s reputation as a speciality coffee powerhouse.
La Soledad is run by Raul Perez, and named after Raul's grandmother, Soledad de Carmen. Raul inherited the reins to the farm from his father, Henio Raul Perez M., who had worked it for the previous 30 years. While Raul has continued the family’s commitment to producing quality coffee, he has led La Soledad a step further by employing processing techniques and cultivating coffees previously unseen on Guatemalan mountainsides.
Raul’s newest project, the Scorpion Selection, focuses on developing small amounts of diverse and exotic coffee varietals that introduce new flavours to La Soledad’s traditional taste profile. And as expected, the coffee is produced with the same high standard of care and processing the farm is renowned for.
The first fruit to come out of the Scorpion Selection project is the Rainmaker Gesha.
In 2007, at a time when the Gesha variety was still a closely held industry secret, La Soledad was lucky enough to secure about nine seeds of the variety to begin their plantation. From these seeds, Raul and his team successfully grew five trees. It would, however, be another five years before these trees were able to produce usable seeds to expand the farm.
By 2013, La Soledad was able to cultivate enough seedlings from their original tree stock to plant one hectare of land. Selecting the right area to establish the Gesha plantation was the next critical step. Raul selected a plot about 1600 metres above sea level that would shelter the trees from wind and maximise their exposure to early morning sunshine.
Always the forward thinker, Raul also decided that the Gesha plantation would be the first section of the farm to be planted in a new grid system that set an equal distance of three-square metres between each tree. The belief behind this formation was that the trees would be better assisted in growing into bigger and stronger plants that could outlast other plantation’s planting systems.
Each row of the grid is oriented east to west to exploit the available sunlight hours. The more sunlight the trees can absorb, the more energy they will have to produce new cherry and develop the full fruit flavours, complexity and sweetness synonymous with Gesha, but with the added La Soledad character and clarity.
After almost ten years, La Soledad is able to harvest just enough green coffee to be able to share it with their closest allies and friends who have invested in growing strong relationships with the farm.
Our first Limited Release of 2016, the Rainmaker Gesha from La Soledad is a coffee we have been anticipating for some time.
Coffee Supreme was lucky enough to be visiting La Soledad in 2013 just as their Gesha trees were first able to produce enough cherries to generate a tasting sample. Fast-forward three years; the coffee trees are maturing and producing more fruit - and we have received the first shipment of La Soledad Gesha ever exported.
The Rainmaker Gesha is a special coffee for several reasons. We love the flavour profile, exquisite quality and, perhaps most importantly, this coffee gives us the opportunity to both champion Raul’s pioneering spirit and highlight the process involved in developing new coffee varietals.
The dedication shown at La Soledad is something we admire and it inspires our team. Raul’s vision for coffee is also why we have committed to support him and his family as they continue to experiment with the Scorpion Selection project.
The Rainmaker Gesha is available in very limited quantities. Coffee Supreme has exclusive access to the Rainmaker Gesha in Australasia. Pre-sales open Monday, June 13th with the first roast date on Monday, June 20th. We hope you enjoy this coffee as much as we do.
You can buy the La Soledad Rainmaker in NZ here or in AUS here.