The Guatemalan harvest season is in full swing, and we are looking forward to sourcing some of our favourite coffees from our friends in the highlands of Huehuetenango and Santa Rosa. Sitting right in the middle of the central American coffee belt, Guatemala has some of the best conditions for producing iconic coffee profiles. Home to active volcanoes and lush rainforests, Guatemala hosts tropical climates and high-altitudes which allow coffee to thrive.
Although in the past decade we have seen Guatemalan coffee producers tackle some diverse situations like large Roya (coffee leaf rust) outbreaks and reduced interest from young people to take up farming coffee, the production and cultivation of coffee is still an integral part of Guatemalan culture and exports. Huehuetenango has become iconic due to its winey and vibrant cup profile and is sought after by many, while Santa Rosa has developed a staple for chocolatey clean blends.
The highest and driest non-volcanic Guatemalan region, Huehuetenango is home to some of the world’s best specialty coffee production. The hot, dry winds from Mexico’s Tehuantepec plain makes Huehuetenango’s environment perfect for coffee growing, with the wind providing protection from frost at 2,000 meters above sea level. The regions’ remoteness means most producers process their own coffee as access to processors is limited.
The majority of Guatemala’s coffee production comes from small to medium farms and unlike South American countries, the steep hills dissuade large international investors and instead encourage the local people to farm their own land in small blocks. A majority of the farms we see producing coffee cultivate on 1 to 5 hectares, and are supported by local co-operatives that understand the needs and challenges faced in their communities.
Huehuetenango uniquely exhibits many cases of third or fourth generation family run farms, with producers taking pride in their coffee production through implementing a mixture of technology and tradition. Producers often own their own drying facilities, giving them control over the production process of their coffees and helping them fetch the highest prices for coffee when selling their parchment at local buying stations.
An example of this is our friends at Vides58’s Finca La Bolsa. While working as a doctor, Jorge Vides found a love in coffee and cultivated land for Finca La Bolsa, which he would then also use for community initiatives such as a school and child labour prevention programs. Finca La Bolsa has been a finalist in the Guatemala Cup of Excellence, and have provided us with a quality coffee which we are proud to deliver to you.
Sitting within the Fraijanes Plateau, Santa Rosa has often been a place of interest in the coffee world. Consisting of large flat lands, producers are able to acquire larger plantations, and produce larger quantities of coffee.
The northern regions of Santa Rosa are a funnel for winds from the Atlantic Ocean due to the arrangement of valleys and mountains, and often results in an earlier harvest than the likes of the southern regions. With good coffee coming from Santa Rosa, the proximity to Guatemala city means it is easily accessible through trade routes and feasible for easy exportation.
The diverse variety of coffees produced within Santa Rosa also make it a destination producer. Having been highly touted within the coffee industry, Santa Rosa had five coffees receiving awards in the Guatemalan 2022 Cup of Excellence, highlighting its sought-after cup characteristics. For this exact reason, we are delighted to be working with some of Santa Rosa’s best farms to provide you top quality coffee.
If you are interested in some of the Guatemalan stock we have on offer for the new year, contact your Account Manager today, or head to the shop page to see what is on offer.