El Guatalon Santa Rosa Cup of Excellence Lot #20
The farm was named after the ancient term “guatal,” a term used throughout Central America that refers to an area of land where cattle graze once the maize harvest is complete. With its 35 hectares of natural forest, El Guatalon prides itself on conservation and biodiversity preservation. Hiking through this natural wilderness, speckled with coffee, is truly a majestic experience – filled with native birds and clean air.
Divided into five microregions categorized by soil and altitude, El Guatalon teems with life amongst its various climates and ecosystems. The owner and manager Guillermo Antonio Juarez Solares studied as an agronomist before returning to the family farm to transfer his knowledge to the coffee trees. Guillermo was able to successfully fend off La Roya, or Coffee Leaf Rust, the detrimental coffee disease, with his agricultural methods to reduce the spread.
Coffee has helped fuel Guatemala’s economy for over a hundred years. Today, an estimated 125,000 coffee producers drive Guatemala’s coffee industry and coffee remains one of Guatemala’s principal export products, accounting for 40% of all agricultural export revenue.
It is most likely that Jesuit missionaries introduced coffee to Guatemala, and there are accounts of coffee being grown in the country as early as mid-18th century. Nonetheless, as in neighbouring El Salvador, coffee only became an important export crop for the country at the advent of synthetic dyes and industrialisation of textiles – in the mid-19th century. Throughout the latter half of the 1800s, various government programs sought to promote coffee as a means to stimulate the economy, including a massive land privatisation program initiated by President Justo Rufino Barrias in 1871, which resulted in the creation of large coffee estates, many of which still produce some of Guatemala’s best coffees today.