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Guatemala

HISTORY

Despite the introduction of coffee in the late 18th century, cultivation of the crop did not gain significant traction until the Guatemalan government encouraged European immigrants to establish plantations in the 1860s, distribution seed and young coffee plants. By the end of the 19th century Guatemala was exporting nearly 300 million pounds of coffee each year.


The majority of farmers are independent smallholders, loosely associated by proximity and cultural ties, or more formally through co-operative associations. A coffee growers union was formed in 1960 which has subsequently become the national coffee institute Anacafé (Asosiación Nacional del Café). Anacafé supports growers through the provision of financial support, research and marketing.


Guatemalan coffee production was severely impacted by an outbreak of coffee-leaf rust in 2012 which lasted for several years and reduced yields by as much as 25%. Farmers combated the disease using a combination of chemical and organic treatments, intense pruning, introduction of more resistant varieties, and the reduction of shade plants. World Coffee Research has been working closely with Anacafé  on the development of initiatives targeted at protection of existing crops and the prevention of future outbreaks.



PROFILES

Guatemala's regional microclimates and varieties grown influence the distinct profiles of each region, which include the following:


  • ANTIGUA: Most farms in this region are situated at altitudes between 1,300 and 1,600 meters with many farms located on the side of the volcanoes Acatenango, Agua, or Fuego. The rich volcanic soil and sunnier days provide smooth, sweet profile good for blending or as a mild, lower-acid single-origin coffee.
  • ATITLAN: With a number of volcanoes surrounding Lake Atitlan, this region is known for its rich soils and windy, wet climate. Coffee profiles are nutty with chocolate characteristics, balanced by a lemon acid and some floral notes.
  • HUEHUETENANGO: The high elevations up to 2,000 meters, this region produces crisp malic and citrus acidity, full body and with a toffee sweetness. Coffee from Huehuetenango (pronounced "way-way-ten-an-go") provide the most complex and probably most well known of Guatemalan coffee.
  • NUEVO ORIENTE: Producing full-bodied coffees with lots of balance, this region has a cloudier, wetter climate with limited sunlight but more even temperatures than many others.

Overview

GROWING REGIONS

Acatenango, Antigua, Atitlan, Chimaltenango, Cobán, Fraijanes, Huehuetenango, Nuevo Oriente


COMMON VARIETIES

Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai, Typica, Maragogype, Pache


PROCESSING METHODS

Washed and mechanically demucilaged


HARVEST PERIOD

September – April