Coffee from Guatemala


Guatemala, a beautiful country found in Central America, has been economically fueled by the coffee industry for over a hundred years now. This can only mean one thing: it is certainly a good coffee. If you are curious as to how this came to be and why Guatemalan coffee holds so much power, we invite you to follow through with our article and discover the hidden story.

The origins

The records of coffee being grown in the Guatemala region go back as far as the mid-18th century. It is believed that the Jesuit missionaries were the ones responsible for bringing the first ever coffee beans to Guatemala and therefore starting a whole industry. Even so, coffee did not gain popularity as an export product only until the mid-19th century, just like synthetic dyes and the industrialization of textiles. Observing the potential, in the late 19th century, the government created various programs that had the target to start promoting coffee as a way to stimulate the local economy, together with a plan to make as much land as possible private. These efforts resulted in the creation of large coffee estates that still exist to this day and produce some of the best coffee.

Growing regions

The land of Guatemala frequently has high altitudes and a record of 300 unique micro climates. Overall, there is constant rainfall and the soils are rich with minerals. With so many options at hand, it was possible for eight regions that produce Strictly Hard Bean coffees (SHB) to stand out due to their unicity.


This might be the most popular region in Guatemala, and for a good reason. With a rich volcanic soil, low humidity, a lot of sun, and cool nights, this part of the country grows some of the most extraordinary coffees. Due to the presence of three volcanoes in the area, Agua, Fuego and Acatenango, and the constant activity of the Fuego, the soil is frequently refreshed with a dusting of mineral-rich ash. This retains moisture and therefore plays a part in the offset of the local low rainfall. Also, because of the chilly nights, the shade is extremely dense, in order to protect the coffee plants from the frost. 

Acatenango Valley

Found in the proximity of Antigua, just across the Fuego and Acatenango volcanoes, this region grows coffee in dense shade and steep slopes, that are up to 2.000 meters high. Here, the unique soil is maintained by the regular eruptions, that create a coarse, sandy soil, full of minerals. Because the bean varieties (Gravilea, Cuje, Guachipilin) are kept under constant shade, the temperature is regulated and a diverse habitat of flora and fauna is created. 


Even though the soil is something out of the ordinary in each region, the one here is the riches in organic matter. 90% of the cultures grown here are planted along the slopes of the steep volcanoes that have taken over the shores of Lake Atitlan. The micro climate here is highly influenced by the daily winds, also known as Xocomil, that stir the cold water of the lake. 


The specific of this region is represented by the annual precipitation of around 3.500mm, made up from constant rainfall that happens between nine and ten months of the year. The regular gentle drizzle, which locally has the name ”chipichipi”, provokes between 8 to 9 flowering per year. Because of this, the beans ripen at different stages, meaning that up to ten passes are needed to make sure that only the ripest cherries are being picked. 

Fraijanes Plateau

If we were to describe this region in just a few words, they would be: volcanic pumice soil, an active volcano, very high altitudes, variable humidity and plenty of rain. This is also the place where the Pacaya volcano can be found, which is the most active erupting volcano in Guatemala. Just like in the case of the Acatenango Valley, the constant eruptions make sure that the soil has an important mineral boost by lightly making a deposit of ash every so often. Aside from this, there is also a lot of sun, with clouds, dew and heavy fog in the mornings, that quickly fades away, allowing the coffee grown here to be sun-dried. 

Flavour characteristics

Now that we understand under what conditions this coffee is grown and processed, it should be easier to see why this coffee is so special. Sweet, with a medium to full body, has gathered fans all over the world thanks to the high number of chocolate flavour notes. They range from bittersweet cocoa, to sweet, milk chocolate, and even nuts and toffee. Sometimes, even a smoky feel could be noticed. 

Guatemalan coffee certainly sounds like a treat, so it would be a shame to miss out on it. If you have not tried it before, make sure you give it a taste and see for yourself why everyone is so crazy about it. If you already are hooked on it, we would like very much to know how you came upon it and why it has remained your staple cup of coffee. We bet it is an interesting story!