Cafe MontéAgua is grown in the Antigua coffee region of Guatemala, a secluded valley between three volcanoes is continuing a story that began thousands of years ago. From the times when ancient Mayans celebrated Chaak, the god of rain, thunder, and the harvest, the precious crop has been coffee. We sat down to chat with founder Alejandro Castañeda to learn more about the inside story of this luxury coffee brand.
1. Why did you choose to start the Café MonteAgua brand?
“I decided to start the MonteAgua Brand because ever since I have been traveling to the US, I have felt that the coffee is pretty mediocre at best. And coming from Guatemala, where some of the best coffees in the world are produced, that didn’t cut it. So since I have been traveling to Wilmington for the last 25 yrs of my life, I started bringing coffee as gifts and so that I could drink this great coffee as well. Shooting two birds with one stone if you will. I started learning about the way coffee is commercialized in the US, statistics and processes. Who the players are, and how the tendencies go as generations change. So it became pretty obvious to me, that the time has come in which the US is now ready to enjoy the best coffees. I am not competing against anybody, I just let my coffees do the talking themselves. When people try them, invariably they notice the difference. It is like a pleasant surprise to discover that coffee doesn’t have to be bitter. That coffee doesn’t have to be cold brewed to take the bitterness away, That MonteAgua coffees can be brewed, and if you like them cold, cool it and never come close to even wanting to use sugar on them, because they lack the bitterness.”
“You see coffee has a little bitterness to it, but is has to be a hint, not the predominant factor in it. So I implemented the processes that reassure this. Some of them are mentioned in an article written in the Delaware Today, Main Line Today, The Hunt and Westchester magazines. But it is more of an art to me, then it is just a “get it out of the way” mentality. Most of the coffee out there doesn’t go thru such scrutiny. And it is understandable because it makes it more expensive. Pricier coffee, pricier processes and longer time to gently roast makes it a pricier option. However, this is what a luxury item brings to the table. Also, the limited productions that are very carefully chosen gives you a wonderful raw material that exceeds all other.”
2. Can you briefly explain the steps involved in creating a single bag of Café MonteAgua Coffee?
The steps are simple, but flawless;
1. Very controlled and supervised milling process
2. Sun dried to perfection
3. Patient and vigilant rest of the raw beans
4. Careful transportation
5. Delicate roasting
6. Extreme tasting and development
7. Careful rest before packaging for immediate delivery