Finca La Cumbre is overseen by producer Juan Bernardo, in the micro-region of Petatan, Huehuetenango. Nearing the border with Mexico, the area of Huehuetenango offers some of the most unique Guatemalan cup profiles. The higher altitude brings cooler evening climates which affects a slower maturation of coffee cherries. This weather also extends the required drying time for processed coffee which is now seen as a positive for allowing complex flavours to develop as well as adding to the green coffees longevity.
Bizarrely, Don Bernardo has benefitted from global warming, with coffee previously not surviving the frosts that would fall over these hillsides. With temperatures rising La Cumbre was planted on almost virgin soils and also hosts a small nursery to tailor the next generation of coffee trees to these conditions.
Whilst climate change has enabled this new production it is also clearly bringing a new set of challenges. Most intimidating is the swift spread of leaf rust through much of Central America. Leaf rust (roya) is a fungus that attacks the leaves of the tree, leaving the plant with no energy to produce coffee cherries and diminishing quality. Working with a local agronomist Juan Bernardo is aiming to stay a step ahead with regular pruning and diverse planting.