The 7 Best Guatemalan Coffee Beans
The Reputation of Guatemalan Coffee Beans
Guatemalan coffee beans are considered to be some of the best in the world. We realize that this is a bold claim, and we also realize that their are numerous Guatemalan coffee brands out there. Guatemalan coffee regions such as Antigua and Huehuetenango are particularity well known. There is, however, much more to Guatemalan beans than just these two regions.
We have put together this recommendation list of what we feel to be 7 of the best Guatemalan coffees on the market. Each of our recommendations is a testament to the esteemed reputation of Guatemalan beans.
Here is a summary of our picks for best Guatemalan beans!
Antigua Santa Barbara
Huehuetenango Gratitude Blend
Having trouble deciding? While we highly recommend all 7 of these Guatemalan beans, if we absolutely had to pick one, it would be Antigua Santa Barbara. But it really comes down to personal preference!
Guatemalan Coffee Regions
Although Guatemala is not an enormous country, it is home to a wide variety of climates. Many of these climates are ideal for the growth of coffee trees. Guatemalan coffee regions such Antigua and Huehuetenango produce what is considered to be some of the best single origin beans in the world. These regions have become established as high end Guatemalan coffee brands, and for a good reason!
Antigua, perhaps the most prestigious coffee growing region in Guatemala, is located in a valley that is nestled between three large volcanoes. Coffee trees benefit immensely from the young, fresh, nutrient rich soil provided by the surrounding volcanoes. The high altitude allows the development of a more rich flavor via an extended growth period. The rainy and dry seasons that occur in the valley are distinct and the humidity remains constant. All of these factors contribute to the extremely high quality of Antigua coffee.
Huehuetenango is another well known, distinguished coffee growing region that produces some very highly regarded coffee. Huehuetenango is situated in the highlands of Western Guatemala. This region also flourishes from the rich, nutrient packed soil and high altitude. This region differs from the valley in which Antigua resides in that it is far less sheltered by mountains. A higher annual rainfall, humidity and temperature gives this subtropical region a distinct climate, and gives rise to the distinguished Huehuetenango coffee bean.
Other Guatemalan Coffee Regions
Antigua and Huehuetenango make up the majority of this list, as they offer a large variety of high quality Guatemalan coffee brands. But there are other regions that deserve your attention! One such region, San Marcos, experiences the highest temperature and rainfall of any coffee growing region in Guatemala. These extreme growing conditions lead to coffee profiles that are distinguished and delicious!
Guatemalan Coffee Taste Profile
So what does a typical Guatemalan coffee taste profile consist of? Although there is quite a variety, you can expect something like this!
This may come as a shock, but we firmly believe that the best way to really assess a Guatemalan coffee taste, is to try it for yourself!
Guatemalan Coffee Farms
Guatemalan coffee farms are typically found at high elevations, often tucked into a mountainside or atop a plateau. Warm weather, a high amount of rainfall, and nutrient rich soils contribute to highly favorable growing conditions. But geography and weather do not deserve all of the credit... Guatemalan coffee farms are very well taken care of, and it shows. The farmers deserve a lot of credit too, and without them, Guatemalan beans would not be the same!
Guatemalan Coffee History
The history of coffee in Guatemala is closely intertwined with its colonial past and the development of its economy. Coffee was introduced to Guatemala in the mid-18th century, during the Spanish colonial period.
Coffee cultivation began on a small scale, primarily in the Antigua region, which had favorable climate and volcanic soils ideal for coffee production. The first coffee plants were brought to Guatemala from the Caribbean island of Martinique. The Bourbon variety of Arabica coffee, known for its exceptional quality, was particularly favored in Guatemala.
By the early 19th century, coffee had gained popularity, and its cultivation expanded to other regions of Guatemala. Large coffee plantations were established in various regions such as Cobán, Huehuetenango, and Fraijanes, taking advantage of the diverse microclimates in the country. These regions offered different altitudes, rainfall patterns, and soil types, contributing to the development of unique flavor profiles in Guatemalan coffee.
Coffee production in Guatemala flourished during the 19th century and became a vital part of the country's economy. Coffee exports brought significant wealth to Guatemala, attracting foreign investors and stimulating infrastructure development. The profits generated from coffee fueled the growth of cities like Guatemala City and Quetzaltenango.
During the early 20th century, coffee production faced challenges due to volatile market prices and the impact of diseases such as coffee leaf rust. Despite these setbacks, coffee remained an important agricultural commodity, and efforts were made to promote the quality of Guatemalan coffee.
In the mid-20th century, the National Coffee Association of Guatemala (Anacafé) was established to support coffee farmers and promote the industry's development. Anacafé focused on improving agricultural practices, research, and marketing strategies to enhance the reputation of Guatemalan coffee globally.
The Antigua Coffee Region, with its picturesque landscapes and well-preserved colonial architecture, has become a popular tourist destination for coffee enthusiasts. Visitors can explore coffee farms, participate in cupping sessions, and learn about the cultivation and processing techniques that contribute to the renowned flavors of Guatemalan coffee.
The Best Guatemalan Coffee
Here are our 7 best Guatemalan coffee beans! We think that these are stand out examples of the quality that comes out of Guatemalan coffee farms. Take a look, hopefully you find something new to try!
1. Antigua Santa Barbara Coffee
Roasted By: Volcanica Coffee
Taste: Rich, sweet, notes of nut & chocolate
First we have an Antigua sourced coffee from the estate of Santa Barbara. This one showcases why Antigua coffee is world renowned! A complex aroma of chocolate and nuts sets the tone for this rich, creamy cup. Both nut and chocolate combine with a candy-like sweetness and vibrant acidity to make this unique profile. A sweet, lingering aftertaste will have you craving a second cup of this premium product. If you haven’t tried coffee from Antigua before, we suggest that you do so promptly!
2. Dark Huehuetenango Coffee
Roasted By: Fresh Roasted Coffee
Taste: Rich, notes of spice & chocolate
Here's our first Huehuetenango coffee recommendation, this one is a dark roast. This coffee boasts a flavor profile that is vastly different than our first entry from the same region. A pleasant aroma of wood and spice set the tone for this full bodied, smoky sweet treat. Acidity is minimal, leaving plenty of room for the wonderful notes of chocolate and spice. This cup is concluded by a nice clean finish. If darker roasts are more your cup of… coffee, we highly recommend checking this one out!
3. Huehuetenango Coffee
Roasted By: Java Planet
Taste: Balanced, notes of fruit, caramel & chocolate
Next we have another fine selection from Huehuetenango! Java Planet offers a top of the line, environmentally friendly product. Certified Fair Trade, Organic, GMO-Free and Bird-Friendly, this is about as natural as it gets. Java Planet provides a coffee that would stand out even without the impressive set of certifications that they possess. This delicious coffee contains a mouth-watering caramel-like sweetness, as well as notes of fruit and chocolate, all wrapped in a nice creamy body. The acidity is low, while the flavor is high. Do not miss out on this one.
4. Pacamara Santa Felise Coffee
Roasted By: Belux Coffee
Taste: Complex, notes of fruit, wine & chocolate
This coffee is of the Pacamara varietal, a hybrid cross between Pacas and Margagogype. This varietal was originally created in El Salvador, but is now grown in many Central American countries. This coffee sports a complex, bright acidity. Notes of fruit, wine and chocolate all work together to offer an intricate taste profile. The bright bite fades away for a smooth finish with hints of chocolate. If you've never tried a Pacamara bean, this is a great option!
Read more about Pacamara coffee!
5. Antigua Coffee
Roasted By: Cubico Coffee
Taste: Complex, notes of orange, lemon & milk chocolate
Our next recommendation takes us back to the esteemed coffee growing region of Antigua. This flavor profile does not resemble our prior entry in the slightest and helps to showcase the diversity that comes from Antigua. A complex array of flavors including orange, lemon and a hint of milk chocolate are encapsulated by a full, velvety smooth body. A nice fruity sweetness and a tangy bite soften to a nice clean finish, rounding up this wonderful cup. This one will require multiple cups to fully appreciate!
6. San Marcos Coffee
Roasted By: Two Volcanoes Coffee
Taste: Balanced, floral & nutty notes
And now, from a region besides Antigua and Huehuetenango, we have a representative from San Marcos. Two Volcanoes’ Antigua Coffee lives up to the high reputation of Guatemalan coffee while also bringing something new to the table. A prominent nut flavor is on display in this cup, and it is able to shine thanks to the toned down acidity. Nutty from start to finish, with some floral notes found somewhere in the middle, this coffee is as pleasant as it is distinct. You’d be nuts to sleep on this San Marcos delight! (Sorry.)
7. Huehuetenango Blend
Roasted By: Maddat Coffee
Taste: Balanced, notes of fruit, nut & chocolate
Okay, one last Huehuetenango coffee to round up the list, this time, a blend. This blend offers fruity, floral and nutty notes in aroma and cup, a delicate fruity acidity and a hint of chocolate. All of this is presented in a nice light, nearly butter-like body that offers a clean and sustained finish. Even if you typically prefer single origin beans, this is a must try for fans of Guatemalan coffee.
And that’s that. Hopefully you’ve found a new Guatemalan coffee to try. Give any of these a shot and you won't regret it.
Let us know about your favorite Guatemalan coffees, and if you if you have any recommendations for us!
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