Guatemala is well known for its many volcanoes, picturesque lakes, and coffee. After Colombia, Guatemala ranks second in the world in the amount of high-grade coffee it produces, and has the highest percentage of its crop classified as “high quality” by world-wide buyers. Over half of its coffee is exported to the North America, representing around 15% of the Guatemalan Gross National Product and generating about 1/3 of Guatemala’s foreign exchange.
With its mild subtropical climate, combined with well-drained volcanic soils, Guatemala produces a mild coffee with distinctive aroma and flavor characteristics. Mountain slopes are often covered with Coffee Arabica plants growing under a canopy of taller shade trees. The coffee trees, which usually stand between five to ten feet in height, blossom throughout the months of May through October. They then will yield ripe fruit, or cherries, from November through February, depending on the elevation.
The majority of the country’s coffee plantations can be found on the coastal slopes in the central and southern regions of Guatemala, where altitudes range from 2,500 to 6,000 feet.
The presence of three active volcanoes produces a unique soil that yields coffee beans that create a well-balanced yet spicy coffee with a distinctive smokiness, high acidity and traces of bittersweet chocolate.
The dry fragrance has a vibrant fruit/nut flavor; a chocolate-coated raisin and a hazelnut scent. At darker levels chocolate bittersweet notes dominate, with traces of warming spice and clove.