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Coffee - origin Guatemala

Considering the relatively small size of the country itself, Guatemalan coffee boxes way above it’s weight category and has produces some excellent coffee over the years. The coffee is high-grown and the farms around the Antigua and Atitlan regions. These areas have high levels of volcanic soils and are well known for their quite distinctive coffees. The Guatemalan coffees are generally medium to full bodied and one can experience chocolate and cocoa, nut and some smokiness in the flavour. Altitudes can vary between the lower and higher growing regions and thereby the bean density, body and acidity. Varietal's include Bourbon and Typica with a few others in minor proportions. Our own cupping experience has shown that the SHG Guatemalan coffees do well in both medium and darker roasts and that they hold onto their distinctive flavour quite well into the beginning of second crack, a roasting term for a point approximately equal to a Full City or medium/dark roast.

Coffee farming in Guatemala started in the late 1800’s when it competed against cochineal for the farmers care and attention. Most of the coffee production finds it’s way from the small country of Guatemala into the United States. As far as coffee from South and central America’s goes once could perhaps say that the Columbia and Guatemalan coffees are ahead of the rest as far as quality goes.

What makes one coffee better than another

Let’s start with the basics, coffee is a drink and consumers expect the drink to taste good, so, without belabouring the first criteria, coffee must have a nice, pleasant and flavourful taste. Look for character, look for appeal…or is it flat and quite boring? Then comes aroma (that nice smell which makes you look forward to the first sip. There are two other characteristics to look out for, the first is body. Is the coffee light and thin or does it coat your tongue so that the taste can linger on all your sensors? Finally we have aftertaste, a good coffee will linger after your swallow. Pause, allow it to “talk to your tongue” while you savour every last drop.

Don’t stress if you don’t get the honey or nut…you read about a bouquet of flowers on the nose but got nothing? So what - most roasters dig these flavours out of the cup while undertaking a “cupping” session under controlled conditions with the different coffees prepared in a certain way - usually medium roasted and simply dissolved or part dissolved in hot water and allowed to cool. You really can’t and shouldn’t expect to experience this in your latte or cappuccino, it won’t happen. If you want to try a little home tasting, the simplest method is to turn to your plunger or French Press and to try two different coffees, without milk or sugar, next to each other.  

Learn about home tasting here

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