Cranberry and plum with a cocoa finish.
Farm: El Rancho
Owner: Rubel Solis
Region: Nojoya, San Antonio Huista, Huehuetenango, Guatemala
Coffee in Guatemala
Guatemala’s national coffee association Anacafé has classified 8 distinct growing regions in Guatemala and their 'Little Green Book' describes the various regions by geography, climate, soil type and varietals grown to ultimately differentiate the cup characteristics.
This is a small nation, sitting snug between Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Belize, but it has a wide diversity of coffees. There are 8 distinct coffee-growing regions, but a little closer look will show over 300 microclimates. Rainfall varies from 800–5,000 mm/year, but everywhere in the country has a well-defined rainy season.
Anacafé has successfully collected data from 95% of coffee cooperatives to paint a picture of the country’s coffee industry. There are over 125,000 Guatemalan coffee producers spread over 20 departments, with a total of 305,000 hectares of coffee farms.
Altitude ranges between 1,300 and 2,000 m.a.s.l., with 86% of the coffee crop designated Strictly Hard Bean (SHB). SHB coffee, which is associated with higher altitudes and cooler climates, is denser and therefore better quality.
One of the characteristics of the landscape that makes Guatemalan coffees both unique and diverse is the chain of 34 volcanoes which winds its way across the country, parallel to the Pacific. Along this chain sits Guatemala’s “Coffee Belt”, where farms benefit from the greater nutrients found in volcanic soil.
Anacafé aim to preserve the varieties which have positioned Guatemala as a producer of high-quality coffee, which include the traditional Guatemalan varieties: Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai, Pache and Typica. More recently introduced varieties include Geisha, Pacamara, Maragogype, and Maracaturra
Highland Huehue, also known as Huehuetenango, produces coffees with intense acidity, a full body, and wine notes. It lies on the border with Mexico, and one of the newer coffee-growing regions dominated by smallholder producers. Coffee grows from 1,500 to 2,000 m.a.s.l. and there is 1,200 to 1,600 mm of rainfall each year. The harvest is slightly later in Highland Huehue, lasting from January to April.
Typical flavour profiles for good Huehue coffees include intense acidity with a full body and pleasant wine notes.