16TH January, 2017

Guatemala Finca Colombia: Washed v Natural Coffees

This year we purchased three different lots from Finca Colombia – a washed, a honey and an experimental natural. We have now rolled out two of these varieties, the washed and the experimental natural. It’s a great time to compare two coffees sourced from the same location but processed differently. Undergoing different processing methods has resulted in differences and unique tasting notes.

Finca Colombia

Finca Colombia is one of our favourite farms in Guatemala and our more recent visit was in February last year. The city of La Antigua is located in one of the most desirable growing regions in Guatemala and it is here where Finca Colombia is located. Just five kilometers south from the central park of La Antigua Guatemala, on KM 48 marker of the road to the city of Ciudad Vieja, this beautiful farm is embedded in the slopes of the Agua Volcano, at 1,500masl.

Finca Colombia was originally founded by Oscar Asensio del Valle and now managed by René Méndez Asensio. Rene’s family has been managing Finca Colombia since 1925 and throughout this time, each generation has dedicated their time to perfecting their processing techniques. René takes great care to invoke sustainable and environmentally conscious practices on his farm, avoiding the use of chemicals and caring for the local flora and fauna. René and his family pay scrupulous attention to detail at every stage of the coffee process.

What’s the difference between Washed and Natural processing?

The washed method is the most common processing method in Guatemala and throughout Central America. Washed coffee is also known as the wet process. Hand picked when perfectly ripe, the cherries first go through floatation channels to sort any foreign material and beans of odd densities after which they are then pulped and left in fermentation tanks with a small amount of water where naturally present enzymes and bacteria begin breaking down the sticky mucilage layer. It’s this stage of the process which lends to the bright green apple acidity present in this lot. After the mucilage layer has been loosened by the fermentation, the beans are then rinsed a final time before undergoing sun drying on the large drying patio.

On the other hand, natural processing, also known as the dry process, involves cherries being dried as whole cherries in the sun. Natural lots are still somewhat of a rarity from Guatemala, so we took part in a project between René and Veneziano R&D Manager, Craig Simon to try out some experimental processing. This is the second naturally processed lot we have done with René. The cherries are harvested by hand only when perfectly ripe, then floated to remove beans of odd densities and foreign material, after which they are laid out to dry on raised beds being turned regularly to ensure even drying and fermentation.

We’re excited to introduce both the washed and experimental natural for our customers to compare. Both have an overall cupping score of 85, but there are some differences in each coffee’s flavour profile.

The Washed
Varietal: Yellow Caturra
Tasting Notes:
Well balanced, round green apple acidity, clean silky mouthfeel, notes of red grape, honey and Baker’s chocolate.

The Experimental Natural
Varietal: Red Bourbon
Tasting Notes:
Macerated strawberry, gingerbread, rich mouthfeel, spiced orange.

Both varieties are available for a limited time. To pick up your bag today, check out the online store: ORDER NOW 

Download the microlot coffee cards to read more:


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