Best Guatemalan Coffees in 2022
Coffee from Guatemala is popular for it average acidity, sweet, composite, strong full body flavor notes. Its aroma is pleasant with hints of fruits, species and citrus.
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Guatemala has one of the top quality coffees in the world. The nation ranked 5th coffee producing and exporting country before 2011 when it was overtook by Honduras. Coffee growing was started in the country back in 1860s when natural dye was compressed by other synthetic products. Since this was their major economic symbol the country needed another option to take on their economy. Through government encouragement, the country rapidly became a major coffee exporter. The country though small has over 125000 coffee producers.
Guatemala coffee production
Every day, more people are moving to the urban areas from their rural homes to seek education and green pastures. Due to high population in the cities they are extending to rural areas and even occupying land which was once used to farm coffee especially the Antigua and Atitlan regions. However, the country is still amongst the top ten largest coffee producers in the globe. More than half of their exports are to US.
Roya, leaf rust found in coffee plants have greatly affected the yield and quality of coffee in Guatemala. Most percent of the Guatemalan coffee is good quality contributing to its wide market internationally. The biggest populace of the Guatemalan people lives in poverty and thus not sharing the wealth of this countries gold. As a result they provide labor to coffee plantations during the harvesting period. Their influx highly influences the quality of coffee.
Varieties of Guatemalan coffee beans
Major and most grown varieties are the Arabica bourbon and typica. Other varieties include Catuai, Pache and Caturra. The flavors of these coffees are slightly distinct from each other and the cherries that are dried can be sold off as cascara to improve the sales of farmers. Cascara is rapidly growing in the market besides being new in the region.
The acatenango geisha rare variety- This is a very sugary variety with tropical fruits hints and floral aroma.it have a gentle delicate flavor with real uniqueness that stand out among all coffee types whether or not it was planted in similar conditions.
Growing coffee conditions in Guatemala
Guatemala is gifted with diverse climate attributing to the most unique coffee farming conditions in the entire world. There are seven major coffee cultivation regions in Guatemala. The most popular ones are Huehuetenango, Atitlan and Antigua. Each and every region has distinct conditions for coffee growing with unique microclimate which contributes to various flavors and quality.
Coffee is grown by the volcanoes slopes in Antigua which is characterized by rich volcanic soils and little amount of rain with long period sunshine. The region of Huehuetenango have the most elevated regions ranging from 5000 to 6000 feet and produces coffee beans rich in fruitier tastes and composite flavors.
Atitlan region also grows coffee in the area surrounding Atitlan Lake which is convenient source for wet processing coffee. The area is also characterized by rich volcanic soil which favors the best tasting coffee beans. Farms are usually organically fertilized in absence of chemical pesticides. This region coffee is chocolaty and nutty in flavor.
Other coffee producing regions in Guatemala include Oriente a volcanic dry region, wettest and hottest Volcan San Macros, Cuban an area characterized by subtropical, rainforest and high humidity and fraijanes plateau.
Guatemala is known for its humid conditions and heavy rainfall. Because of the high availability of water the country favors the washing coffee processing method. Natural drying process is nearly impossible with such humidity. The method, wet processing appeals to both consumers and farmers since it is more consistent and best showcases the natural acid found in the coffees unlike the natural process
Taste of the Guatemalan coffee
Guatemalan coffee beans are renowned for its most sweet, medium and full soft edged bodied with rich chocolaty flavor. Most coffee variety contains sweet and milky chocolate flavor, bitter-sweet cocoa flavor all this toffee and nuts hints.
The acidity is pleasant and bright while the aroma is either citrus or/ and floral. Most people using Guatemala coffee have also seen smoky aspects on these coffee beans. The coffee beans of Guatemala planted at very high elevations for instance in Huehuetenango contain bright flavor hints of citrus, green apple or berries.
Best major coffee growing region
1. Antigua: this region has some of the earliest coffee growing plantations in Guatemala. A number of them farms are inherited in family line. Most of them are well managed by owners this attributing to the fact that they produce most of the best Guatemalan coffee. There are consistent education programs to farmers on how to improve the yield and quality of their coffee.
Antigua coffee beans have strong sweetness, heavy body, and mid to low acidity. It also has heavy chocolate notes with fruitier hints.
2. Huehuetenango Coffee: it have the most elevated land with rich volcanoes. The region has the best coffee beans with sparkling bright acidity. Their body is medium with amazing sweetness and more fruit flavors.
How to roast Guatemalan coffee
Guatemalan coffee bean can be roasted almost with all the roasting technique. The methods vary from right medium to dark roast.
Light and medium roast is well suited for producing light and bright coffee with full bode and perky flavor aspects. Roasted light Guatemalan is characterized by orange or apple fruit hints with chocolaty flavor.
People preferring dark roast will get a really fantastic coffee from the Guatemalan variety. Some beans have a strong spicy flavor which can stand a dark roast.
How to brew the Guatemalan coffee
Knowing what you need to bring out from the coffee will help you decide the brewing technique. For the Guatemalan coffee the key elements are; body, sweetness, flavor, aroma and acidity. Major methods include;
- Pour over method
- Cold brew
- French press
Pour over method is among the best method since it helps you control the brewing process to achieve your desired flavor.
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