The origin of the carefully roasted and blended coffee beans that make up your morning routine is incredibly vital to the overall experience. The region where these beans are cultivated will have a tremendous effect on the final results in your cup, including flavour profiles, acidity, and texture. While there are select countries where coffee bean production is abundant, Guatemala is famed for its volcanic and varied landscape, which happens to be ideal conditions for growing the coffee plant.
As a coffee connoisseur, it’s essential to look at different areas worldwide and how their unique processes contribute to coffee, as you know and love it. Perhaps you’ll discover a particular region that suits your palette best or simply embrace the culture as one with a varied history with lots to learn from. In this post, we’ll discover all you need to know about Guatemalan beans and help you determine if this coffee is something you’d enjoy as a part of your day.
Why Guatemalan Coffee
Guatemalan coffee production dates back to the mid-1800s. Thanks to ideal growing regions and conditions, farmers have had time to perfect their processes and enhance the initial growing phases to ensure a higher-quality harvested product. Guatemala produces the most common coffee bean type, arabica, and uses the most common coffee processing method, known as the wet process. Every step the farmers take ensures that once the beans are ready to roast, there are minimal discrepancies and optimal final results. Their passion for their craft also led to a coalition of farmers in 1960, named the ANACAFE or Asociación Nacional Del Café, which works with independent farmers throughout the country.
Throughout Guatemala, there are seven main growing regions. Each of these areas has its own unique microclimate providing different growing conditions. Additionally, the presence of volcanic soil produces a further diversified profile for the coffee plant and, thus, the beans growing on it.
The three most popular growing regions include Antigua, Huehuetenango, and Atitlan. Plants in Antigua are grown on slopes of previously active volcanoes. They receive plenty of sunlight and minimal rainfall.
Next is Huehuetenango, which can be found close to the Mexican border. It has the highest growing altitudes of all the regions, coming in between 5,000 and 6,000 feet.
Finally, coffee plants in Atitlan are similar to that of Antigua because they are also grown in volcanic soil. However, unique to this area is Lake Atitlan, which provides richer ground conditions. The water that fills the lake is often used for wet processing, a system contrasting to the drying process that other coffee bean farmers and producers use. In the wet process, beans undergo a complex method involving drying, fermenting, and washing.
The other four common coffee bean growing regions are:
- The Fraijanes Plateau, which surrounds Guatemala City
- Rainforest Cobán, which is found in the north as part of a humid, subtropical forest
- Volcan San Marcos, which is the warmest and wettest region
- Oriente, contrasting to the above, is predominately volcanic and dry
Flavour and Aroma
Due to Guatemala's complex and unique growing areas, the beans from this country tantalize the senses. An overarching citrus aroma can often be inhaled from a freshly brewed cup. Once it touches your tastebuds, you may experience sweet flavours such as soft milk chocolate or bittersweet cocoa and an underlying nutty flavour where toffee may be present.
Beans grown in higher altitudes, like Huehuetenango, may exhibit a brighter and fruitier flavour, such as berries or green apples. Still, frequent Guatemalan coffee drinkers have also noticed a smokey element. Overall, you can expect a full and round body with a pleasant acidity level and complex notes that deepen the drinking experience.
With respect to the diverse growing areas for coffee beans in Guatemala, the roasting considerations must be equally distinct. There are several factors that ORO Caffè focuses on to ensure that the beans we receive are able to become a well-rounded cup once our customers have brewed their favourite drink.
Density is perhaps the most important component to consider. Generally, the higher altitude the bean is grown in, the denser it is. With that in mind, Guatemalan beans require a higher initial heat to activate the flavours and olfactories waiting to be unleashed.
While it is up to the roaster to determine the right roast type to bring out each batch's best qualities, medium roasts tend to create the perfect experience for these beans. We use a roasting system that allows for optimal conditions to bring out the sweetness, and medium acidity Guatemalan beans are known for.
It’s also possible to do a lighter or darker roast, depending on specific preferences. The blonder the roast, the brighter the acidity, while the richer the roast, the sweeter the final result.
Best Brewing Methods
In order to enjoy Guatemalan beans to their full potential, there are a few preferred brewing methods that truly ensure you’ll be enjoying the best cup possible. The defining characteristics of this blend come from its flavour and acidity, or sweetness and body. The following methods are designed to highlight such profiles.
- Pour-over method. Aptly named for the process by which this coffee is brewed, the pour-over method is a slower extraction that showcases the acidity of these beans. The filter adds to this sense with a clean, balanced offering. It is known to be more delicate and mild.
- French press. Coffee lovers who appreciate a stronger and more full-bodied cup will love the brew this method creates with Guatemalan beans. It’ll give a well-rounded sweetness and bold mouthfeel, encompassing everything you love about a hot and aromatic coffee.
- Cold brew. Due to the combination of attributes, Guatemalan coffee is ideal for cold coffee drinkers. The full body, sweetness, and medium acidity really shine through once this process is complete. A longer steeping time better defines the sweetness and body, making an invigorating first sip and every one after that.
Aficionados or simple admirers of great coffee alike are sure to appreciate the richness and uniqueness that Guatemalan beans offer. When deciding where to purchase from, you may be met with numerous potential suppliers but unsure how to choose. Perhaps you’ll focus on the specific region the beans are sourced from, the length of the roasting process they have undergone, or a brand you trust to provide you with quality coffee. At ORO Caffè, we are passionate about roasting beans to perfection, depending on their origins. We consider the grade of each bean before roasting and go through a specialized process that has been refined over generations with a commitment to the nature of our Italian history.
ORO Caffè’s Single Origin Guatemalan Beans
Our single origin collection is meant to delight coffee lovers and casual drinkers alike. Our Guatemalan beans are sourced from Quetzaltenango near the Rio Samala. The region lies between Huehuetenango and Atitlan. Grown at an altitude of between 1,200 to 1,300 metres, we roast these beans to highlight the medium acidity, chocolate aroma, and slight orange aftertaste that envelops the senses and creates a coffee experience like no other.
To learn more about our products or our passion for roasting, please contact us. If you’re trying to decide which coffee beans to try next, we’d be happy to help you!