Coffee review: Counter Culture Coffee Finca Nueva Armenia

by JulieCraves on November 5, 2008

Plainspoken Coffee. A Coffee Review for Ordinary People by Ordinary People, #39.

We did a quick take on Counter Culture’s Finca Nueva Armenia a couple of years ago, as it was used in their Sanctuary shade-grown coffee line. We liked it then, we like it now.

This certified organic selection from the Huehuetenango region in Guatemala is now one of Counter Culture Direct Trade Certified coffees. FNA was founded in the late 1800s. The current owners, the Recinos family, have had it since the 1940s and are now in the fourth generation of coffee farming. The farm went organic in the 1990s — one of the first organic farms in the country.

Coffee grows under multi-tiered shade with 50 species of shade trees recorded on the farm. The farm was very recently qualified for Smithsonian Bird-Friendly status. This is significant, as the farm is quite large — 113 ha. FNA grows mostly bourbon and typica varieties, at 1500 to 1833 m (click on this map for a satellite image).

As a family-owned farm, Finca Neuva Armenia doesn’t qualify for Fair Trade certification, which only covers small farmers that are part of a cooperative. But the Recinos family pays their workers 30% more than surrounding farms during the harvest, including even better rates at the end of the harvest when the per-person picking yield drops, in order to encourage picking for quality as opposed to quantity. And the Counter Culture Direct Trade program pays farmers well above Fair Trade prices.

On the package, this is described as a “classic breakfast coffee. It is certainly that — very well-balanced, light-bodied, the last drop tasting as good as the first without turning bitter in the cup. It was gently sweet, with milk chocolate tones and a short finish. But it is what I like to call a “classic ++”, as there were just these hints of other flavors that made it stand out from the typical classic Central American profile. For several tasters, there was an apple or apricot aspect. One person thought it was “spicy”, but another put his finger tongue on it with “cinnamon”. For me there was also a spicy/savory aroma and flavor, especially when the coffee was prepared as a pour-over or French press, that I really liked. I found myself chasing after that taste in sip after sip. I was never able to describe it more specifically, but sure enjoyed trying! It averaged out at 3.75 motmots; my score is just over 4 motmots.

If you are looking for a really great quality, super-tasting, affordable coffee that is farmed under the most stringent environmental criteriathis is it!

Revised on November 14, 2019

Posted in Blends/Multiple,Coffee reviews

John November 5, 2008 at 12:38 pm

That first link goes to Finca El Puente in Honduras.

BirdBarista November 5, 2008 at 12:52 pm

You keep me honest, John. I fixed the link.

Susan November 26, 2008 at 1:23 am

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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