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Guatemala Coffee: Does The Volcanic Landscape Improve The Coffee Taste?

Guatemala Coffee: Does The Volcanic Landscape Improve The Coffee Taste?

Have you ever heard about Guatemala coffee being called the holy grail of coffee?

It’s regarded as some of the most amazing tasting coffee in the world.

What makes Guatemala coffee so special?

One of the most important reasons for it is that coffee in Guatemala is grown at an altitude that’s higher than 5,000 feet. This is what contributes to its unique and full-bodied flavor.

But that’s not all. Let’s take a look at Guatemala coffee in more detail.

How Much Coffee Does Guatemala Produce?

Every year, Guatemala exports approximately 3,121,000 sacks of coffee! It owns 2.7 percent of the world’s coffee production and is currently rated ninth when it comes to how much coffee it exports, as Coffee Hunter reports.

The country contains approximately 27,000 hectares of ground for coffee plantations, and 98 percent of it is shade-grown coffee.

What is the benefit of shade-grown coffee?

In case you don’t know, coffee plants thrive in the shade. This is why they’re usually grown in forests where they can nestle underneath the shade provided by larger plants and trees.

There are environmental benefits to growing coffee plants in the shade. These include how the trees that cover the plants help to filter carbon dioxide in the air and also encourage moisture to be retained by the soil, which prevents and reduces the chance of soil erosion.

Coffee that’s grown in shady conditions also tastes better.

This is because the coffee beans can mature at a slower rate when they’re in the shade as compared to when they are grown in the sunshine, and this helps them to increase their production of natural sugars which boost the flavor of the coffee.

Volcanic Soil In Guatemala And How It Affects Coffee Production

Volcanic Soil In Guatemala And How It Affects Coffee Production
restoranu Robert

An important reason why Guatemala coffee is so delicious is because the country has a diverse climate that’s ideal for the production for coffee. There are actually seven growing regions in Guatemala.

These include the popular Antigua and Atitlan regions. They all have their own unique conditions for growing the most delicious coffee. What some of the regions have in common is that they have volcanic soil.

Yes, volcanic soil contributes to the deliciousness of Guatemala coffee!

For example, coffee that’s produced in Antigua is grown on slopes of volcanoes that don’t experience a lot of rainfall but receive a lot of sun. On the other hand, coffee that’s made in Atitlan is also grown in volcanic soil but the region surrounds a lake. Its water is used for wet processing the coffee beans, which we’ll get to in the next section.

Why does the volcanic soil make coffee tastier?

Volcanic soil contains important nutrients that provide nourishment to coffee trees. These include calcium, phosphorus, boron, zinc, nitrogen, and potassium.

How Is Guatemala Coffee Processed?

It’s not just the Atitlan region that uses wet processing for coffee. This is actually pretty common in Guatemala and it makes sense because there is a large supply of water in the country.

But what is wet processing?

The wet processing of coffee varies from dry processing in that it involves removing the coffee bean’s layers in a process called “de-pulping.” This causes the coffee to have an appealing acidity to it.

The dry processing method, on the other hand, is when the cherry of the bean falls away in the sun.

But, as its name suggests, wet processing also makes use of water. Basically, the fruit will float in water as this will remove dried cherries from the batch. Then, the fruit will be washed and transferred into a fermentation tank. Here, the pulp of the fruit is broken down.

This ensures that it can be removed, or washed, from the coffee bean. Once all the coffee beans have had their fruit parts removed successfully, they will be transferred to a dry mill where they are dried in the sun.

Wet processing coffee offers many benefits when it comes to its taste. It helps to create a cleaner, delicate body and complex flavor. It also ensures that the acidity of the coffee remains balanced.

What Does Guatemala Coffee Taste Like?

What Does Guatemala Coffee Taste Like?

If you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying a cup of Guatemala coffee, here’s some information about what it tastes like.

Generally, coffee from this country is sweet with a medium or full body. It also has chocolate-like flavors. While some will be sweet, others will be slightly bitter. You’ll also find coffee that has notes of toffee and nuts.

Earlier we mentioned that high altitude affects the flavor of coffee.

When you enjoy coffee from places that have higher altitudes, this has the effect of making the coffee taste brighter and fruitier. Some common flavor notes you’ll find in Guatemala as a result of the higher altitude include berries and green apples.

What’s The Best Brewing Method For Guatemala Coffee?

What’s The Best Brewing Method For Guatemala Coffee?

As you know, having delicious coffee at your disposal is only one part of ensuring you get tasty coffee – you also have to consider how to brew it to bring out all its flavors.

Since you don’t want to miss out on any of the delicious flavors in Guatemala coffee, here’s a rundown of some of the best brewing methods for it.

Pour-Over Coffee Method

This has become popular lately and that’s because it uses water to extract the flavor from coffee grounds. How this method works is by pouring a continuous stream of hot water over the coffee.

When the grounds become saturated at a slower rate than in other coffee-brewing methods, this allows them to bloom with flavor. This method makes your coffee taste much richer and full-bodied, so it’s the perfect way to enjoy the intricate flavors of Guatemala coffee.

French Press

If you like darker coffee roasts, you’ll love using a French press for your Guatemala coffee. This also helps to bring out the coffee bean’s natural sweetness, which is a bonus.

Since this type of coffee brewing method ensures that the coffee will make contact with water for a longer period of time, it helps to extract more flavor – you’ll be able to enjoy a full-bodied cup of delicious coffee every time.

However, it’s important not to brew Guatemala coffee for too long. This will cause it to become too bitter.

Cold Brew

While you might not think of making use of a cold-brewing method, this is actually recommended as one of the best ways to enjoy Guatemala coffee.

Since cold brewing coffee results in a longer steep time, this will ensure that the sweetness and flavors of the coffee will be released.

Another thing that makes Guatemala coffee so ideal for cold brewing is that it has a medium level of acidity, so it’s sure to make your cold brew much more refreshing!

Where Can You Buy Guatemala Coffee?

Where Can You Buy Guatemala Coffee?

If you’re interested in purchasing Guatemala coffee beans, here are two of the best products to buy.

El Injerto

Based in the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala, this company produces eight types of coffee and even runs a barista school.

Not only can you purchase ready-made coffee from it but also green beans so that you can roast your own Guatemalan coffee in the comfort of your own home.

El Injerto is the only coffee farm in the world that has won the 1st Place Cup of Excellence award a whopping eight times, so it guarantees you quality coffee. 

Fat Cat

Based in the Antigua region of the country, Fat Cat produces roasted coffee that you can enjoy in their coffee shop or have exported.

You can find light, medium, or dark coffee from them, so make sure you order what you want online from The Coffee City. You won’t regret it as Fat Cat is regarded as one of the best places to get coffee when you’re visiting Antigua. 

Related Questions

What kind of Arabica varieties do you get in Guatemala coffees?

The country’s coffee production is almost exclusively Arabica, and the most common varieties are Caturra, Catuai, Typica, and Bourbon. You can learn more about them by reading this Coffee Research article.

Can you get decaffeinated coffee from Guatemala?

If you’re interested in purchasing decaf coffee from Guatemala, your best bet is to source organic-certified coffee from the Huehuetenango region.


Coffee in Guatemala is delicious and full of flavor. In this article, we’ve looked at what the most important reasons are that contribute to it being so popular.

We’ve also given you the best brands of coffee to try if you want to drink Guatemala coffee and feel like you’re walking through the country’s colorful cities and volcanic landscapes. Enjoy!

Last Updated on May 15, 2021

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