Guatemala: a coffee rough guide
Coffee and travel go hand in hand, they are perfect companions for a short trip to a neighbouring city, a far away place, or as a form of escapism in the midst of your day. As we embark on yet another sourcing season stuck at home without travel, we’re feeling a little nostalgic about our friends in far places.
This week, we’re extending the invitation to you once again to run away with us virtually as we visit our favourite coffee growing regions, revealing some of the places, farms, and secrets we have discovered along the way. So, without further delay, let’s run away to Guatemala…
Where to go? Huehuetenango, Antigua
When to go? Dec – April
Favourite Farms? Finca La Bolsa, Kalibus La Sierra, El Rincón, Peña Blanca, Cruz Quemada, Cuevitas, Río Azul, El Sapito, El Patio, Finca Terrazas, Sierra Madre
At a glance:
Second only to Colombia for specialty coffee production, Guatemala is home to a diverse climate and culture, both of which are present in their coffees. The many microclimates create distinct differences in regionality and flavour profiles. However, one common denominator among all these terroirs is that they are fuelled by nutrient-rich volcanic soil which is amazing for producing specialty coffee. The region of Huehuetenango is our favourite and also one of the most remote coffee growing regions. It's known for its extremely high altitudes, great drying conditions, and protection from harsh weather, all of which allow the coffees to thrive.
A must see:
Take a stunning, but extremely windy and winding drive from Guatemala City into Quetzaltenango. After an overnight stay, start out early in an off-road car and watch the dawn break as the landscape shifts from city streets to thick, equatorial forest. Drive further into the remote forest as the roads turn to dirt, to the tail end of the Cordillera mountain range and a beautiful coffee mecca, Finca La Bolsa.
What not to miss?
- Big Volcanic Influence - Many coffee farms sit at extremely high altitudes and among the steep slopes near inactive and active volcanoes. Coffees grown in Guatemala excel due to the release of volcanic ash, sulphur, and other useful minerals which enrich the soil.
- Clean, Clean, Clean - Guatemalan coffees are known for being clean. There is a lot of rainfall in Guatemala which can make the drying process quite difficult. Because of this the country is known for producing washed coffees that can be characterized by a winey and clean profile.