This is one of those coffees – and relationships – that we would like to attribute to fate. When we first purchased coffee from Finca Nueva Armenia in 2002/2003 through one of our importers, we were looking for a high-quality, certified organic coffee from Guatemala. Back then, we had another Guatemalan coffee from a conventional farm in Antigua that received more attention from our more quality-focused customers and this, the Organic Guatemala Huehuetenango (I know this will ring bells with some of you), we directed to the more environment-focused, Sanctuary-shade-grown-coffee-buying customers.
A couple of years later, we realized that we actually liked Finca Nueva Armenia's coffee just as much as the coffee we were buying from Antigua, not to mention it was certified organic, and we decided to focus our purchasing and marketing efforts on Finca Nueva Armenia's coffee. Easier said than done, we learned, because although our importer had given us an e-mail address for the Recinos family, they didn't write back to us until we finally announced that we were hoping to visit them. Thankfully, Jorge gladly agreed to pick us up at the airport in Guatemala City and the rest is trip-report history!
Twin brothers Jorge and Javier Recinos are third-generation coffee growers and fourth generation on the family's land in Huehuetenango, which their paternal great-grandfather purchased before coffee made its way to the remote regions of northern Guatemala. Their grandfather planted the first Bourbon-variety coffee trees on the slopes of Finca Nueva Armenia – New Armenia Farm, but don't let the name confuse you, they have no connection to the country of Armenia – in the 1940s some 70 years ago and many of those trees remain to this day, having been pruned back to stumps many times but still producing lush, green foliage and burgundy-red coffee cherries.
The twins' father, Antonio, grew up in the then-wild environment of the farm and, although he pursued medicine as a profession and ultimately moved the family from Huehuetenango down to the capital city, his connection to the farm remains even now that he's too old to make the 8-hour journey. In the 1990s, Antonio's sons dedicated themselves to the farm – while studying agronomy and environmental engineering – and became familiar with organic agriculture and increasingly believed that the principles and practices of organic management fit perfectly with their family's farming philosophy. Finca Nueva Armenia is one of the first organic farms in Guatemala.