TG-LAB & Mayaland Coffee Hits Portland with Some Seriously Good Guats

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The American Barista & Coffee School in Portland, Ore., was kind enough to host a special tasting of 10 beautiful Guatemalan coffees (eight brewed manually, two pulled as espresso) sourced and repped by TG-LAB, and roasted by Mayaland Coffee yesterday afternoon.

Loads of Portland roasters, cafe owners, and baristas showed up for the special tasting session of Guatemalan coffees hosted by Mayaland Coffee, TG-LAB, the American Barista & Coffee School, and Barista Magazine, on Thursday.

Loads of Portland roasters, cafe owners, and baristas showed up for the special tasting session of Guatemalan coffees hosted by Mayaland Coffee, TG-LAB, the American Barista & Coffee School, and Barista Magazine, on Thursday.

This tasting was super special: Josué Morales of TG-LAB video conferenced in some of the producers from TG-LAB’s office/factory/roasting space in Guatemala City. As a lot of the attendees to this very well-attended session in Portland yesterday were baristas and cafe owners who had never had the opportunity to come face-to-face with the farmers who had grown the coffee they were enjoying, this was a remarkable experience.

Coffee producers in Guatemala joined the tasting via video conference, which was a big treat for the attendees.

Coffee producers in Guatemala joined the tasting via video conference, which was a big treat for the attendees.

Josué has been working with farmers from Guatemala for more then 10 years, helping them to improve their land and mills in an effort to earn them better prices for high quality coffee. He then sells the green coffee to roasters around the world. For example, Brandon Smyth, roaster and co-owner of Water Avenue Coffee, which is next door to the American Barista & Coffee School, buys coffee from TG-LAB. We were lucky enough to try some of it: a rare Maracaturra varietal that was like candy in the mouth.

We tasted 8 coffees brewed manually, and 2 as espresso.

We tasted 8 coffees brewed manually, and 2 as espresso.

Dan (left) of TG-LAB and Tom of the School brewed all the coffees meticulously.

Dan (left) of TG-LAB and Tom of the School brewed all the coffees meticulously.

But Josué also owns Mayaland Coffee, which is a roasting company located in Guatemala City. The coffees we tasted yesterday had all been roasted in TG-LAB and Mayaland’s factory space, which we saw when we took a video tour via Facetime.

Green coffee available from TG-LAB, and roasted coffee from Mayaland Coffee.

Green coffee available from TG-LAB, and roasted coffee from Mayaland Coffee.

It was a long session—we were at the School for almost three hours. But attendees loved every second of it; they hung on Josué’s every word as he described each farm in detail, discussed challenges facing the farmers, success they had enjoyed, and the way they lead their lives.

Josué was an engaging and spirited teacher to the attendees.

Josué was an engaging and spirited teacher to the attendees.

I’m not an expert taster, but these really were some spectacular coffees; it was a total treat to experience them. It’s always fun to cup through coffees from one country but lots of growing regions—there was even a coffee that Josué said grew on a farm located next door to a cardamom field, and the coffee really did have a hint of cardamom in the finish. Very interesting, very enlightening, and a lot of fun.

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.