Coffee beans in mist in Guatemala

The Guatemala Coffee Culture:

Coffee production in Guatemala began to develop in the 1850s. Coffee is an important element of Guatemala’s economy. Guatemala was Central America’s top producer of coffee for most of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, until being overtaken by Honduras in 2011. Illegal exports to Honduras and Mexico are not reflected in social statistics. (Wikipedia: (

Our Guatemala coffee is Medium Dark with notes of chocolate, bright fruit, and butterscotch.

Volcano erupting in Guatemala landscape.

The most suitable temperature for the healthy growth and abundant production of coffee in Guatemala is that of 16 to 32 °C (60 to 90 °F). In lands situated at an altitude of 500–700 meters (1,600–2,300 ft) above sea level, young plants must be shaded.

In zones averaging an altitude of 1,500 meters (4,900 ft), the plantations must be sheltered from the cold north winds. For the most part, the co ee plantations are situated at an altitude varying from 500–5,000 meters (1,600–16,400 ft) above sea level. (Wikipedia: (

Coffee production in the country began in 1779 in the Meseta Central which had ideal soil and climate conditions for coffee plantations. Coffea arabica first imported to Europe through Arabia, whence it takes its name, was introduced to the country directly from Ethiopia. In the nineteenth century, the Costa Rican government strongly encouraged coffee production, and the industry fundamentally transformed a colonial regime and village economy built on direct extraction by a city-based elite towards organized production for export on a larger scale. The government offered farmers plots of land for anybody who wanted to harvest the plants. The coffee plantation system in the country therefore developed in the nineteenth century largely as result of the government’s open policy, although the problem with coffee barons did play a role in internal differentiation and inequality in growth. Soon coffee became a major source of revenue surpassing cacao, tobacco, and sugar production as early as 1829. (Wikipedia (

Guatemala coffee in burlap bag ready for shipping

Anacafé (Asociación Nacional del Café) was established in 1960 as a national co ee association, representing all co ee producers in Guatemala. It was initiated by the precursors to the International Coffee Organization, as a way of centralizing statistics of the nation’s coffee production as it continued the work of La Oficina Central del Café, previously established and operated by the central government which in turn was established in 1928.

Anacafé has established a Guatemalan Coffees brand, and defined eight co ee regions under the slogan “A Rainbow of Choices”. The regions are: Acatenango Valley, Antigua Coffee, Traditional Atitlan, Rainforest Coban, Fraijanes Plateau, Highland Huehue, New Oriente, and Volcanic San Marcos.

Anacafé has built the Analab coffee laboratories, established a funcafé program for children, and publishes El Cafetal, a coffee magazine. Anacafé represents Guatemala in the International Coffee Organization’s meetings, and receives income only from service charges on exported coffee items. (Wikipedia (

Ancient pyramids in Guatemala coffee landscape The coffee industry began to develop in Guatemala in the 1850s and 1860s, initially mixing its cultivation with cochineal. Small plantations flourished in Amatitlán and Antigua areas in the southwest. Initial growth though was slow due to lack of knowledge and technology. Many planters had to rely on loans and borrow from their families to finance their coffee estates (fincas) with coffee production in Guatemala increasingly owned by foreign companies who possessed the financial power to buy plantations and provide investment. (Wikipedia (

Coffee workers sorting coffee beans on a tarp in Guatemala

A scarcity of laborers was the main obstacle to a rapid increase of coffee production in Guatemala. In 1887, the production was over 22,000,000 kg (48,500,000 lb). In 1891, it was over 24,000,000 kg (52,000,000 lb). From 1879 to 1883, Guatemala exported 133,027,289 kg (293,274,971 lb) pounds of coffee.

By 1902 the most important coffee plantations were found on the southern coast. Many acres of land were suitable for this cultivation, and the varieties that were produced in the temperate regions were superior. Coffee was grown around Guatemala City, Chimaltenango, and Verapaz. The majority of the plantations were located in the departments of Guatemala, Amatitlan, Sacatepequez, Solola, Retalhuleu, Quezaltenango, San Marcos, and Alta Verapaz. (Wikipedia (

Coffee beans in cupped hands