Fernando Cofino's forward thinking has always inspired us, whether he was considering interesting variety separations, or encouraging his employees to grow their own microlot gardens and send their children to the school that Retana shares with the local community. But your coffee farm doesn't get to be over 100 without having something to say about the importance of patience, dedication and graceful perseverance. Volcano eruptions, political unrest, coffee leaf rust: Cofino's family and farm have endured great turmoil. We have enormous respect for Cofino's innovations and tenacity--through it all, we can set our clocks by when his coffees arrive in our roastery.
About five years ago when we were visiting the Retana farm in Antigua, Cofino quietly showed us his maracaturra plot. It was small--just 1000 plants of the famous cross between the maragogype and caturra varieties. Each year, we buy his maracaturra and eagerly anticipate what’s in store. The lots are very small, only about 500-1000 pounds each harvest, so they don’t last long and every roast feels like high stakes. The first few crops were juicy and bright, like biting into a slice of watermelon and eating it all the way down the rind. Over time, we’ve seen the coffee mature into quiet elegance: syrupy rhubarb and juniper berry.