It’s been a minute since we’ve had a Guatemalan coffee in the roastery, and we’re psyched to work with this origin again. Even though it’s a small country, everyone loves their beans – Guatemala produces 2.5% of the world’s total coffee production.
Guatemalan coffees are known for tasting like caramel and green apples, and beans from the western highlands of the Huehuetenango region are known to be especially fruity. Huehuetenango, known to locals as Huehue (pronounced “way way”), began producing coffee in the 1800s. Dry, hot winds from Southern Mexico blow down onto Huehue’s mountains, protecting the coffee from the nightly frosts typical of such a high altitude (1500-1800 meters). The altitude and the southerly winds allow the coffee to mature more slowly, soaking the cherry’s fruit juices into the bean.
The drying process in this region is a bit unique. After the coffee is pulped, Huehue producers stack their coffee in larger volumes and thicker layers on the patio, giving the coffee another chance to soak up even more fruit flavors. Thanks to the terroir and this processing method, Huehuetenangos are known for their fruit-forward profile that borders on the earthy sweetness of the natural process.
In addition to delicious coffee, the region is home to the pre-Columbian Maya ruins at Zaculeu. The ancient city has been inhabited since 250 AD, and features distinctive examples of classic Mayan plazas, temples, and ball courts. Before the Spanish conquest of the city in the 1500s, Zaculeu changed hands between the Mam and K’iche, two ancient and opposing Mayan kingdoms. The city is like an architectural mix tape, displaying building construction styles of both groups.
If you get the chance, get down to Guate. The coffee, the sights, and the people are simply awesome.
Photos via our friends at Cafe Imports.