Guatemala boasts a variety of growing regions and conditions that produce spectacular coffees. Today, the country is revered as a producer of some of the most flavorful and nuanced cups worldwide.
The Guatemalan coffee industry experienced a major setback with the 2010 appearance of Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR) in Latin America. The epidemic peaked in severity in 2012, and though CLR continues to affect some farms, Guatemala continues to produce high-quality, record-breaking coffees. In 2017, new and varied processing methods pushed prices at the Guatemalan Cup of Excellence contest to record highs.
The quality of coffee being produced in Guatemala is increasing, overall, due to the diversity of the industry’s producers. There are more and more smallholder farmers producing exceptional coffee at high altitudes. Cooperatives are becoming more appealing to so many smallholders because they often offer farmers financing and other support for improving their farming and processing and are frequently able to offer higher prices for cherry than middlemen. Many cooperatives have initiated quality improvement training for farmer members and are becoming more adept at helping members market their coffee as specialty.
Strictly Hard Bean (SHB) specifies the altitude at which the coffee was grown. For Guatemala, a coffee must be grown at 1,200 meters above sea level or higher to be considered SHB. The higher altitude and lower temperatures mean that the coffee fruit matures more slowly, creating a denser bean.
This coffee is produced in a very artisanal fashion, with producers carrying out a complete washed process in their own home or small farm. Cherries are pulped mechanically, fermented for around 24 hours on average, washed and then dried on small patios with manual selection of beans and careful attention to detail. Every region in Guatemala has its own culture of coffee processing, but In Huehuetenango, where this coffee comes from, it is special.
Tall mountains tower over the coffee producing areas, inducing cool temperatures which means that coffee takes time to ferment, sometimes longer than a day. Coffee is therefore often fermented overnight, pushed into a washing channel for a density separation, then let to sit for another full day so that the last bit of mucilage can be washed off. After washing the coffee is always 100% sundried. Drying of the coffee is done on any flat ground that can be found. The harvest and processing season is typically dry, allowing the farmers to sun dry their coffee on small patios.
Huehuetenango is the highest altitude region cultivating coffee in Guatemala. Thanks to the dry, hot winds that blow into the mountains from Mexico, the region is protected from frost allowing Highland Huehue to be cultivated up to 6500 feet (almost 2000m). The extreme remoteness of Huehuetenango means that most producers need to process their coffee themselves. Fortunately the region has plentiful water supply with many rivers and streams, so a mill can be placed almost anywhere. An abundance of local knowledge and skill also means that while home-processed, these coffees are treated with excellent attention to detail and are amongst the most sought after in Guatemala due to their high quality cup.
An extremely popular choice with customers in the shop - this lot has all your classical coffee flavours nailed, but with finesse, and a delicious subtle fruity acidity to lift your palette and sense of satisfaction. Think of high-content fine milk chocolate and toffee, complimented by a touch of ripening Braeburn apples and an overall smooth nut butter on toast mouthfeel. A great choice for a coffee you can enjoy at any time of the day.
Roasted for both espresso and filter, this coffee is sweet, creamy, and medium-bodied. Shots need to be pulled slow and long, with the resulting espresso working beautifully in shorter milk and alternative milk drinks - it is currently our house espresso for Flat Whites and Cortados. As filter, this coffee delivers a modern take on a classic profile for a sweet, fully-developed cup, lifted by an elegant acidity and good cup clarity, making it quite easy to drink multiple cups of during the day!