Guatemala - Fredy Gonzalez
Guatemala - Fredy Gonzalez
Cooperative: San Miguel Escobar Cooperative
Location: Ciudad Vieja, near Antigua, Guatemala
Altitude: 2033 masl
Processing Method: Washed
Relationship: Friend & Partner
Our Notes: Sweet & juicy with notes of watermelon, cucumber, tea, caramel and a taffy-like sweetness.
Fredy Gonzalez is one of the founding members of the San Miguel Escobar Cooperative, a group of 30 smallholder farmers that produces coffee in the Antigua region of Guatemala, and the sole producer for this coffee. This year’s lot is the third we’ve purchased from Fredy, who has taken home the top prize in the cooperative microlot competition, held in partnership with De la Gente.
Meet Fredy Gonzalez
Fredy is one of the founding members of the San Miguel Escobar Cooperative, a 30-member organization founded in 2005 in the Antigua region of Guatemala. He has been around coffee farming his whole life, working in his parents’ coffee fields since he was a small boy. He started his own coffee farming operation with only two cuerdas of land, and was able to grow his farm holdings to 20 cuerdas (over 6.5 acres) thanks to the assistance of low-interest loans through the nonprofit De la Gente and the cooperative structure. With so much more land he is proud to offer employment and good wages to 3 members of his local community. It is his dream to one day own 50 cuerdas of land, and he is confident that by working hard year after year he will achieve this goal.
Fredy lives in Ciudad Vieja with his family, and has nine children--six sons and three daughters. Three of his boys are carrying on their father’s legacy by continuing to work in coffee. One of his sons, Julio, is the youngest member of the San Miguel Escobar cooperative at just 22 years old, and joined the moment he was legally allowed when he turned 18.
"Café de Fredy"
In 2017, Fredy’s Microlot was one of the top three winning coffees in the first microlot competition hosted by De la Gente for the San Miguel Escobar Cooperative (Café Artesanal San Miguel). In this friendly competition, a special cupping (coffee tasting and scoring) was held in which cooperative farmers competed with their own special small lots of coffee. The three highest scoring coffees were rewarded with a lucrative prize: a contract with a roaster to buy that lot at a high price. In the second competition held in 2018, Fredy’s hard work paid off, and his microlot scored the highest of all the submitted cooperative coffees, taking home the top prize. Fredy’s winning coffee is a high-altitude Bourbon, cultivated at 2033 meters above sea level.
Fredy’s pride in his coffee is clear, and he is ambitious when it comes to making his coffee the best it can be. Siempre superar, he says - continuous improvement. This philosophy of always building upon what he has comes through in the way he talks about his coffee and the life it has afforded him and his family. When asked about his winning microlot after the first competition where he received second place, Fredy was not satisfied with his position in the initial competition, and set a goal to win first in the next round. He says that in the cupping there was a slight fault in his coffee due to a note of ferment, which made it taste more like a natural process when it was a washed process coffee. He determined that this was because in the first pass of harvest, some cherries were left on the trees and allowed to overripen, then picked on the second pass. This caused notes of ferment in the cup, due to the overripening of the cherries rather than an error in the processing method itself. Fredy was determined to improve on the quality of this lot and processing even further, and his meticulous level of care has certainly been rewarded.
Fredy is proud of his work and loves to share his passion and his coffee with visitors from all over the world, and it brings him so much happiness to know that people everywhere are learning about coffee producers in Guatemala and drinking their coffee.