Guatemala (Bags of Coffee)
Creamy body and crisp winelike acidity, with hints of black tea, chocolate, and citrus, from the western highlands. The coffee beans are organically grown and fairly traded, and air roasted in small batches in Lancaster, Pa.
Grade: SHB EP
Region: Western Highlands of Guatemala (Chimaltenango, Quiche, Huehuetenango, Solora, San Marcos and Quetzaltenango)
Altitude: 1,300 to 1,500 M above sea level
Varietal: Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai, and Typica
Guatemala is the northernmost Central American country, just south of Mexico. The varied landscape of this country stretches from just south of the Yucatan peninsula all the way to the Pacific (with a stretch of Carribean oceanfront, many mountains, rainforests and cloud forests, and a string of 27 volcanoes in between). Springlike temperatures year ‘round allow for long growing seasons, and the people do not let the mountainous landscape stop them from farming! The many mountains and hills make travelling from place to place in Guatemala more challenging than in flat parts of the world.
It is uncertain when coffee came to Guatemala (it is suspected that it arrived with Jesuit missionaries). Records show coffee being grown in Guatemala in the mid 1700s. By the late 1800s, large coffee estates (fincas) began to grow and export coffee. Many of them are still growing and exporting their coffees. Coffee is grown in 20 of Guatemala’s 22 departments, producing eight distinct regions of coffee. The Huehuetenango region, in west-central Guatemala, boasts high altitudes, but the hot (and dry) winds that blow in from Mexico keep the frost away, so coffee can grow well in the area. The coffee in this region is harvested January to April.
La Federación Comercializadora de Café Especial de Guatemala (FECCEG), is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2006 to help small coffee producers. It currently consists of 15 organizations/cooperatives dedicated to the organic production of specialty coffee (and also honey, panela and cocoa). The organizations/coops bring together 1,150 men and 350 women, all of whom are small-scale farmers, working their land in the highlands of Guatemala, in Chimaltenango, Huehuetenango, Quiché, Sololá, San Marcos and Quetzaltenango. FECCEG is committed to cultivating the environment, and to improving society, by promoting healthy living and eating. It is their goal to work together with a joyful passion for what they grow and provide.