Antiguan coffee from Guatemala is rich with history. After Spaniards converted Mayan lands into working plantations, Guatemalans began to cultivate coffee. Soon after, in the 1850s, their traditional export, the carmine dye that was extracted from the insect cochineal began to fade out. European chemical dyes supplanted the need for these Guatemalan insects. Guatemala held the title for Central America’s largest producer of coffee until the country was overtaken by Honduras in 2011. Globally, Guatemala was ranked the ninth-largest coffee producer in 2015.
As the Antiguan-Guatemalan coffee industry has grown since the 1850s, so did civilian tensions. Justo Rufino Barrios, the country’s dictator in the 1870s, heavily-relied on the crop’s revenue, resulting in coffee accounting for 90% of the country’s exports by 1880. However, during the Great Depression, Barrios was overthrown. Since then, Guatemala has seen two other dictators. It has also seen the 1960 establishment of Anacafé (Asociación Nacional del Café) that is used to regulate production statistic. And in 1962, a civil war broke out. These events, along with continuous unequal distribution of Guatemalan land, define the country’s coffee industry as one that has struggled to maintain the prices of their quality coffee.
Growing Climate & Flavor
The Antiguan-Guatemalan coffee beans are grown at high elevations in volcanic soil, similar to several Central American coffee industries. It is known for its sweet, chocolate flavor and its citrus and floral aromas. The balance between dry and wet seasons in Guatemala results in different periods of maturation for these beans, so the prime time to harvest these beans is anywhere from December to April. Among professional purveyors of coffee, Antigua is said to produce the superior coffee in the entire country. Its full, flavorful body coupled with the sweet and spicy notes allow it to taste rich and smooth when consumed.
If you’re looking to sample some Guatemalan coffee, we stock and excellent medium-roasted Antigua, Guatemala coffee the next time you stop in.