Guatemala is a country working hard to bring higher visibility and uniform quality to a well-established coffee industry. Not always as well-known as some of its Central and South American neighbors, Guatemala’s coffees have a distinctive taste quality favored by many for its rich flavor. There are three main growing regions — Antigua, Coban and Heuhuetanango — and in each, one finds a breath-takingly rugged landscape and rich volcanic soil. Microclimates strongly influence the quality and flavor of the Strictly Hard Beans grown at altitudes 4500′ or higher. In the cup, a Guatemalan is a medium-to-full bodied coffee, often with a depth and complexity of taste that is almost spicy or chocolatey to the tongue.
Guatemalan coffee is arguably the crown jewel of Central America. That doesn’t not mean all Guatemalan coffees are good … but it does means that the potential on the upside, the possibility of 88+ point coffees, is greater from regions in Guatemala than its neighboring countries. Great Guatemalan coffees have a bright cup character, floral hints, clean fruited notes, moderate body, and a lingering clean aftertaste. With varying qualities, farms ranging from huge estates to tiny small-holders perched on steep slopes, and different cup characteristics from within the same micro-regions, there is much to learn to appreciate the complexity of Guatemala coffee.