Coffee has helped fuel the economy of Guatemala for over a hundred years. Today, there are an estimated 125,000 coffee producers and coffee remains one of Guatemala’s principal export products, accounting for 40% of all revenue generated by agricultural exports.
Coffee extends throughout much of Guatemala and is grown in 20 of the country’s 22 departments. Around 270,000 hectares are planted under coffee and almost all of this (98%) is shade grown. This is almost exclusively Arabica and is most commonly prepared using the washed method. The principal varietals are Bourbon, Maragogype, Tipica, Caturra, Catuaí, Catucaí, Pache and Pacamara.
Guatemala benefits from high altitudes and as many as 300 unique micro climates. There is constant rainfall and mineral-rich soils.
Since the early 1990s, Anacafé has led a pioneering effort to define the country’s coffee-producing regions based on cup profile, climate, soil, and altitude. As a result of this ambitious project, 8 distinct regions producing Strictly Hard Bean (SHB) coffees have been identified in Guatemala – the Acatenango valley, Antigua, Atitlán, Cobán, the Fraijanes plateau, Huehuetenango, Nuevo Oriente and San Marcos.
The main harvest season runs from December to March and may continue to April in the higher altitudes of Huehuetenango.