David Solano: Excellence in Exploration
I first learned of David Solano in 2021 when I was putting together a special release coffee for an old roasting operation. I reached out to a few different importers in search of a new coffee that would wow my customers. My friend Michael at La Baia Coffee Supply sent me some samples of David’s coffee, and I fell in love immediately. I like to categorize myself as a realist, so for me to have such an immediate response told me that David was on to something special. I got to buy some of his coffee, and I believe it was a lactic maceration natural process similar to the one in our holiday box but not yet as refined as it is now. That coffee blew my mind with the clarity, the sweetness, and the perfection in the processing that is so rare in the grand scheme of things.
Since then, I have had the opportunity to buy David’s coffee every year, and with that, I have been able to watch David grow as a producer while also learning more about his life outside of coffee production.
Earlier this year, I found myself in Guatemala, traveling with Oscar to meet with producers in Antigua, Lake Atitlan, and Huehuetenango. I took the opportunity to reach out to David, and he graciously invited me to cup with him at his lab in Guatemala City on my way out of town.
David Solano has been a barista competitor for a number of years and won the 2018 Guatemala National Barista Competition, taking him to the World Barista Competition in Amsterdam in 2018.
With this success, David came back to Guatemala and pushed his family farm to focus on experimentation and imagination.
Concepcion Buena Vista mainly grows one variety of coffee, Red Bourbon. David’s father decided on this variety many years ago, and David and his brother, Eddy, continued this lineage when they took over the farm. Since all the coffee trees on the farm are older and well-maintained, it is easy for them to keep the trees happy and produce excellent coffee cherries.
David and Eddy started experimenting on a small scale, and after a few years and a lot of investment, the farm is producing these excellent experimental coffees at a much larger scale.
On the farm, they invested in developing a laboratory that is able to develop cultures and yeasts from various acidic fruits. They spent a lot of time working with every fruit imaginable to find out both what happens to the coffee cherries with each fruit and figuring out what fruits produce the best yeast for this purpose.
Through experimentation, they found that yeast works better than the actual fruits because of the contamination caused by enzymes that can live inside of the fruits. These enzymes can produce over-fermentation flavors and contaminate an entire batch of coffee cherries, making them unusable.
Tasting through all of David’s different coffees with him gave me a great idea to share his passion for experimentation as a special limited-release offering. Together, we selected three coffees that share one complete thought when tasted together.
We selected three coffees that are all from the same plot of land but are processed differently: Washed, Anaerobic Maceration Honey Process, & Pineapple Yeast Anaerobic Natural.
I will go deeper into each coffee in this holiday box in the coming days; keep an eye out for those posts!
It has been a pleasure working closely with David Solano this year, and I am very excited to share his coffees with our customers at Victrola!
About the Buyer:
Jake Deserre is the Green Coffee Buyer & Head Roaster at Vibe Coffee Group; he has been in the coffee industry for 17 years and has been roasting and buying coffee for 10 years. His favorite way to drink coffee is, without anything added, with his wife and two cats.