El Retiro Quisaya
During the harvest, the cherries are carefully handpicked and delivered to the mill located on the farm. After sorting, the cherries are pulped with an eco-pulper to remove the external fruit and fermented in aerobic tanks for 14 hours. The beans are then washed and put through a centrifuge machine to remove any remaining mucilage. They are then dispersed on patios to dry in the open sun for ten days.
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.