Guatemalan Rio Azul

Cooperative:  Rio Azul  
Region:  Jacaltenango, Huehuetenango        
Acidity:  delicate      
Body:  round, juicy
Flavors: sweet orange, watermelon, grape
Elevation:  1300-1800 meters       
Best brewing:  Hario V60       
Recommended ratio: 15:1

The Cooperativa Agrícola y de Servicios Varios Río Azul is located in the remote western Guatemalan town of Jacaltenango, settled in the valley of the same name. All members of the cooperative are of the Mayan group Jacaltec, also commonly called Pobp’ al Ti’ or Popti people. Founded in 1967, the cooperative has a long history of producing some of the best coffee exported under the famed “Huehuetenango” mark. The members of Rio Azul all live no more than a 1.5 hour walk to the wet mill in Jacaltenango. This allows the cooperative complete control over several stages of the quality process.

Coffee is picked by members and then delivered in cherry form to the mill each afternoon. The coffee is de-pulped, fermented and washed at the centralized wet-mill and then spread out to sun-dry on the adjacent patios. The parchment is stored in their warehouse awaiting export. As the shipping day approaches, the coffee is transferred to Guatemala City for final processing and export preparation in an organic dry mill. Due to the careful attention given each step of the way – from farmer to final processing – and the excellent growing conditions in this area, Rio Azul coffee consistently boasts pungent dark chocolate aromas; sweet, citric acidity; and a long, lingering finish of delicately balanced flavors. Rio Azul farmers work hard to maintain these high standards. Collectively, they strive to become more financially sustainable and self-sufficient as a cooperative and to provide members with greater technical assistance to improve yields and improve coffee and shade tree management.

Partners since: 2006