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Guatemalan Coffee Ranks Right Up Among the Great Coffees Of the World
The three main coffee producers in the world are Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia. But when it comes to producing quality coffee, Colombia outshines its close competitors. And what country comes after Colombia in producing high-quality coffee? Brazil’s traditional coffee powerhouse? No. It’s Guatemala, a small Central American nation that has just recovered from the ravages of a 36-year civil war.
However, it is not surprising that Guatemala produces such high quality coffee. Guatemalans have known coffee for centuries. The plant was first brought to Guatemala by Jesuit priests in the 1750s who thought it would make a great ornamental tree. Widespread coffee cultivation would follow half a century later.
Today, connoisseurs consider Guatemalan coffee to be one of the best in the world. As a testament to its greatness, Guatemala is a regular participant in the Cup of Excellence (COE), the world’s premier annual coffee competition organized to determine the best coffee in every registered coffee-producing country. Just think of COE as the Super Bowl of coffee. The best and most expensive coffee in Guatemala that has been auctioned through the COE came from Huehuetenango, one of the main growing regions in the Central American nation. Its price? Well, it was bought for US$80.20 per pound.
And it’s a well-deserved prize. For Guatemala, coffee truly offers an unforgettable experience for anyone. Ask any coffee enthusiast who has extensive knowledge of different brands and you’re sure to hear that Guatemalan coffee is included in their top 5 best coffee lists.
How does Guatemalan coffee acquire its unique and rich taste? Of course, a big factor is the climate. Guatemala’s weather, not too humid and not too humid, is perfect for growing. Plant coffee in a dry area and you will get beans that are very acidic. Grow them in a place with constant rainfall and you’ll get dull tasting coffee. The mild climate of Guatemala is only the coffee tree.
A pleasant climate alone would not make good coffee. The substrate must also be in optimal condition. Coffee wants soil that is not all rich in nutrients and minerals, but also has mild Ph levels. And this is exactly what the land of Guatemala offers. Because it is located in a region where volcanic activity is quite high, the soil in Guatemala is mainly of volcanic origin. What makes volcanic soil good for coffee is the fact that it contains large amounts of minerals and is not acidic in nature.
But the main factor that accounts for the goodness of Guatemalan coffee is the way it is grown. Almost all trees in Guatemala are grown in the shade. Farmers do not expose coffee trees to the sun. Instead, they grow them in the shade of larger trees like macadamia. The result is that the beans develop more slowly. How do you make coffee taste great? Well, when a bean matures slowly, it becomes harder and develops richer flavors.
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