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As early as the 18th century, Spanish Jesuits brought the first coffee plants from Yemen to Guatemala.
In the 1850s and 1860s the coffee industry began to develop.
During the colonial period, the indigenous population of the Maya was expropriated and turned into “Colonos”.
They were still allowed to live in the land but had to work for it.
Unfortunately, some fincas still work today according to the colonial era.
However, the trend is clearly away from a few families controlling the cultivation, the ANACAFE (the national coffeeboard) – to local agricultural cooperatives, which are committed to the needs of small farmers.
At that time, as today, coffee is the country’s most important export product.
Areas of cultivation on 500 – 1,200 m are: Fraijanes, Antigua, Huehuetenango, Coban, San Marcos, Nuevo Oriente and Atitlan.
It is mainly Arabica beans planted, to a small extent Robusta varieties.
The quality class SHB (Strictly Hard Bean) gets coffees from high cultivation areas, where they grow slower and thus to a high-quality coffee with a fine aroma.
The coffee is mostly hand-picked and sun-dried.
The active volcanoes make the soil very fertile and give the coffee a very spicy aroma with a slightly smoky note.
The taste is balanced, the coffee has a full body and a very fine acidity.
Most Guatemalans brew rather weak coffee and drink it with lots of sugar.
For this, the coffee is simply boiled in a normal pot and then filled into cups.
The share of instant coffee grows in Guatemala – in 2015 it was already 8% of coffee consumption.