Guatemala – Antigua:
One of Guatemala’s most beautiful and captivating valleys, Antigua is surrounded by three volcanoes: Agua, Fuego and Acatenango. The combination of the region’s rich volcanic soil, mountainous weather, hot days and cool, dry evenings provide the perfect conditions for producing some of the world’s best coffees.
Regional climatic attributes:
The Antigua coffee region is located near the Southern coast of Guatemala. Beans are grown in a valley surrounded by three volcanic mountains. In the Antigua Region coffee is grown at elevations between 1,400 masl / (4,600 feet) and 1,700 masl / (5,600 feet). The weather pattern is fairly reliable with average temperatures around 19°C (66° F). The range is between 11.6° C / (53° F) and 26° C / (78° F).
The average annual rainfall in the Antigua region is approximately 1,525 mm / (60 in). The wet season is about 8 months from April – November. During that time there is heavy rainfall and a constant high level of humidity. The dry season is 4 months December – March.
The elevation, nutrient-rich volcanic soil, and ideal weather conditions all combine to create a perfect environment for growing high-quality arabica coffee beans.
Due to the abundance of water in the country, wet-processed coffees are the norm. High humidity levels tend to disrupt the natural or dry, process of coffee beans anyway, so you will rarely see a natural Guatemalan.
The wet process is often preferred by farmers and consumers alike, as this processing method is much more consistent than the natural processing method, and highlights the natural acidity in the coffee.
Once the cherries have been harvested, with pickers pay close attention to pick only the perfectly ripe cherries, they are brought to the wet mill where they are placed in floating tanks to remove any under-ripe cherries.
Next, the cherries are pulped and then put into fermentation tanks for 12 to 18 hours, after which the mucilage is removed. The beans are dried for two days on a patio and then for 35 hours in a drying machine before drying for a final day on a patio.
Finally, the beans are rested in parchment for 30 days, before the parchment is removed and the beans are sorted by color and size and placed in GrainPro bags.
Characteristics of Guatemala – Antigua Coffee:
- Aroma – Floral, citrus
- Acidity – Bright, juicy
- Body – Creamy
- Flavor – Chocolate, raspberry, citrus
- Aftertaste – Clean
Guatemala’s coffee history:
Coffee was brought to Guatemala in the mid-1700s as ornamental plants. However, coffee production didn’t really take off until the 1860s when the country’s natural dye industry was overtaken by synthetic products, and a new industry was needed to save the economy.
The government encouraged the growth of coffee plantations, and coffee quickly became the country’s largest export. In fact, up until 2011, Guatemala was one of the top 5 largest coffee-producing countries when Honduras finally surpassed it.
In 1960, coffee growers developed their own union which officially became known as Anacafé (Asociación Nacional del Café). This organization is now responsible for marketing, research, and financial support to new and existing farmers.