As I’ve mentioned countless times before, the summer is my favourite time for coffee as we welcome into the UK the fresh crop arrivals from the varied and wonderful region of Central America. This month we are very much focused on Guatemala as we have four new coffees from this beautiful country in the roastery.
Coffee has a long history in Guatemala and still plays a major role in what is the largest economy in Central America. Coffee grows in almost all of the country and makes up 40% of agricultural revenues. The distinct topography of Guatemala, a land made up of hundreds of volcanoes and microclimates is ideally suited to growing great coffee and the variety of flavours available in what is a relatively small country is amazing. Guatemala also benefits from one of the best national coffee associations, ANACAFE. Based in the capital Guatemala City, ANACAFE provide a number of services for producers. Farmers who are not experienced cuppers can have all their coffees cupped and scored by qualified tasters. This valuable feedback is not available to a surprising amount of producers around the world and is incredibly helpful in increasing the quality of a producer’s coffee.
To promote the coffees of Guatemala, ANACAFE also categorised the many microclimates into eight distinct regions, each with their own unique cup profile. The eight regions are; Acatenango Valley, Antigua, Atitlan, Coban, Fraijanes, Huehuetenango, Nuevo Oriente and San Marcos. This year we have bought two coffees from Fraijanes, one from Huehuetenango and a returning favourite, Santa Ana La Huerta, from its own tiny sub-region of Sierra de las Minas. Situated in Guatemala’s eastern highlands, about 4 hours drive form Guatemala City, the Sierra de las Minas area is a protected biosphere and is home to one of Central America’s largest cloudforests. The region is relatively remote and is home to one of my favourite farms, Finca Santa Ana La Huerta, owned and operated by the great Rony Asensio.