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Guatemala - Finca El Tambor Washed


Guatemala - Finca El Tambor Washed

Varietal –  Bourbon
 –El Durazno, Palencia
Altitude 1675-1860 masl

Guatemala is known for producing fantastic washed coffees and has several very well know coffee-producing regions. Most of these are located on the slopes of volcanoes and have incredible soil quality perfect for growing a range of different Arabic varietals. This fantastic washed coffee comes from a farm owned by Victor Calderon and has placed in the Cup of Excellence top 20 more than once in the last 10 years!

Producer Overview:

Victor Calderon represents the 5th generation of coffee farmers from a family that has been involved in coffee for more than 100 years; El Tambor, however, is a relatively new addition to the rich mosaic of farms dotting this region of Guatemala, just outside of Guatemala City.

Guatemala coffee farm

Founded as a cattle farm in the 1930s, El Tambor’s previous owner had converted the farm’s steepest, highest slopes to coffee during the 1960s. However, as price volatility worsened during the late 1980s and early 1990s, he ceased to focus on coffee farming and instead granted mineral rights to a mining company, which began speculatively mining in various locations within the farm’s 700 hectares. Throughout the 1990s, the farm was slowly abandoned apart from these exploratory excavations – that is, until Victor took control of the land.

Victor bought the farm at the beginning of 2001 with the aim of moving out of Robusta cultivation (in which his family had previously specialised) and into Arabica. The bottom was falling out of the Robusta market at the time, and while Arabica wasn’t particularly stable either, he had a dream of finding a farm that lay at 1,500 metres or above so that he could specialise in high-quality, speciality Arabica production. He was so committed to this vision that he sold his house and car in exchange for El Tambor, and upon signing the documents immediately set about renovating the coffee plots, expanding areas under coffee and improving the farm’s small wet mill. However, Victor is a true iconoclast when it comes to coffee farming and refuses to accept conventional wisdom or accepted practices in farming. 

Victor manages the farm with 8 people who are in charge of their own specific areas and duties. All employees have permanent residence on the farm, and 10% of the farm is given over to the workers to produce their own vegetables. Nearly half the farm has been left under forest, which is set aside entirely as a conservation area. In addition to the farm’s permanent workers, approximately 25 seasonal pickers are employed for the harvest.

Harvesting and Processing:

Guatemala coffee beans are typically processed as washed coffees. This is a great example of a washed Guatemala coffee. All coffee is hand-harvested and separated by varietal. In order to ensure that high cup scores are achieved coffee form different sections of the farm is kept separate. After harvest the coffee is pulped, washed and dried on concrete patios with regular turning to ensure even drying.

Guatemala coffee beans drying at El Tambor coffee farm

Tasting Notes: 

This is a lovely, clean, juicy washed Guatemala coffee that showcases the best that Guatemala has to offer. Tasting notes include orange, raisin, brown sugar and a milk chocolate like body. 


This coffee works well for all brew methods. 

Filter: Dose 15g, water 250g. 

Espresso: Dose 17 gram to 40 gram yield over about 30 seconds. 

This coffee is available as whole bean and pre-ground but we recommend always grinding fresh before brewing. We sell a range of grinders if you would like to grind this coffee fresh at home. 

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review

Took me a while to get this dialled in, it likes quite a fine grind. Once I did and it was pouring well it had a likeable, sweet flavour in flat whites - robust but soft. Maybe chocolate brownie and brown sugar, in my cup at least.

Costa Rica Tarrazu Coffee Farm