guatemalan coffee beans

Guatemala Coffee Beans: Facts, History and Best Recommendations

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It’s no surprise Guatemala coffee beans production ranks in the top 10 countries worldwide. Many aficionados rave about this drink coming from Central America, an area famous for growing world-class coffee beans.

For nearly over 180 years, Guatemala has been offering premium coffee. This is thanks to their diverse growing regions. A complex and diverse climate and growing conditions result in coffee beans offering a variety of flavors and taste profiles with optimum quality.

Read on if you’re new to exploring this type of coffee beans or want to learn more about this special brew. We’ll share some interesting facts about the history, where it’s grown, and some tips for the best brewing methods. We’ve also included some of the best brands recommended for trying out the next time you feel like a taste of Guatemala.

Taste and Roast Profile

The taste and flavors of Guatemalan coffee beans are uniquely dependent on the region they grow in. But, you can expect hints of floral with blends of citrus notes. At times, you may notice a chocolatey or cocoa taste, sweet but also nutty. Some regions produce a bean with a wine, fruity flavor.



The body is full, smooth, and round while acidic levels range from low to high. The organic Huehuetenango coffee beans are favored for not producing heartburn, offer associated with drinking acidic coffee.

These coffee beans handle a wide range of roasting profiles with darker roast being a popular choice. However, many drinkers opt for the light to medium roast profile as well.

Organic Coffee Beans

It’s worthwhile pointing out that most of Huehuetenango’s coffee beans are organic-certified. While having low acid, they have been roasted to perfection. You don’t need to worry you’ll end up drinking burnt tasting coffee.

Instead, expect your next cup of organic Huehuetenango coffee to smooth, rich, and sweet with hints of caramel and chocolate. Notes of fruit balance out the flavor which is bright while the clear mouthfeel leaves no unpleasant aftertaste.

Guatemala vs Colombian Coffee

If you’re wondering which are better between Guatemala and Colombian coffee beans, it’s good to note the flavors and taste of the two types.

Colombian coffee beans are the most common coffee brewed by most drinkers. They present a balanced and full-bodied taste. They have lower levels of acidity compared to most other coffees and mostly have a bright, floral flavor.

For drinkers looking for a more traditional cup of coffee, you can’t go wrong with Colombian coffee beans.

Coffee from Guatemala, on the other hand, produces a range of flavors and tastes as described above. You can also expect different levels of acidity depending on the type you buy. While this coffee gives you a twist in flavors, you’ll also get a brew that’s balanced and solid.

Lovers of coffee beans from this Latin American country will also praise them for their freshness and clear, smooth mouthfeel.

Best Brewing Methods

To get the most out of your Guatemalan coffee beans, baristas recommend using the following brewing methods.

  • Pour over: Light roast is your best pick when using this brewing method. Pour over is ideal for bringing out the natural acidity of this coffee type. By pouring hot water over the freshly ground coffee through the filter, you’ll be extracting the amazing flavors unique to Guatemalan coffee. The filer also ensures none of the oils are captured during the pouring process. This gives you a smoother, naturally acidic brew for drinking.
  • French press: if you prefer a robust and strong-flavored drink, then this immersion method is the best way to go. The darker roast is better for the French press method and you can expect both the full body and natural sweetness of this bean to be fully extracted. Your cup of coffee will be more solid with an all-round flavorful and aromatic taste.
  • Cold-brew: The natural sweetness of the Guatemalan bean makes it a popular choice for the ever-growing trend of cold brew coffee. Together with its mild acidity levels and full, smooth body, you can expect your cold brew drink to be deliciously creamy with no bitterness.

Recommended Guatemalan Brands

We’ve found five different brands offering some of the best Guatemalan coffee products. These are the ones we recommend you try out. You can then understand why lovers of this particular coffee brew rave about it!

Copper Moon Guatemalan Antigua Blend, Whole Bean

Copper Moon Guatemalan Antigua Blend, Whole Bean Coffee, 2 Pound Bag, Light Roast Coffee from Guatemala, Rich, Smooth, and Mild, with A Nutty Finish

No matter which brewing method you use, it’s always recommended to buy the whole beans for freshness. This light roast coffee is perfect with its nutty flavor and rich, smooth taste.

Typical Antigua coffee beans, with hints of berry, cocoa, and citrus notes to round off every cup. Copper Moon takes the description further by describing the flavors to have a spicy twist with a smoky undertone.

The company follows sustainable practices by sourcing beans grown using natural farming processes. They recommend this whole bean for cold brew, French press, and pour over brewing. It comes in a 2 pound, well-sealed packet.


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Aroma Ridge Guatemala Peaberry

Aroma Ridge Guatemala Peaberry Freshly Roasted Coffee Beans 16oz

This coffee is another one grown in the Antigua region. It’s whole bean and freshly roasted and packed in the United States.

You can expect a smooth, chocolatey, and fruity taste from this peaberry blend. The body is heavy while lively. The beans are roasted in small batches to ensure freshness in every package.

Typical of any Antigua coffee beans, the brew will be balanced with low levels of acidity. The 16-ounce packet comes with an easy-to-fold top with wiring to offer a better seal when closing.

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The Bean Coffee Company, Coffee Guatemala, Medium Roast, Ground


The Bean Coffee Company Organic Guatemala, Medium Roast, Ground, 5-Pound Bag

Here’s a ground Guatemalan coffee for those drinkers who prefer to not go the whole bean. A medium roast, organic coffee with low acidity, mild body, and creamy, fruity flavors.

It’s organically certified with both the CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) and the USDA and hand-roasted in small batches in the USA.

If your idea of a rich and mellow brew is a great way to start the day, then this is your one for sure. It comes in a 5-pound package and it’s recommended to store in an airtight container once opened.

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Peet’s Coffee Single Origin Guatemala Medium Roast Single-Serve K-Cup


Peet's Coffee Single Origin Guatemala, Medium Roast, 32 Count Single Serve K-Cup Coffee Pods for Keurig Coffee Maker

If you thought you couldn’t get Guatemalan coffee for your Keurig machine, you thought wrong! This 32-count single-serve K-cup will have you coming back for more.

The chocolatey, nutty, fruity, creamy flavor is intense and delicious at the same time. This single origin bean is grown in the San Marcos region.

The beans are hand-roasted in small batches to ensure you get a fresh brew every time.

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Illy Arabica Selections Guatemala Whole Bean Coffee

Illy Arabica Selections Guatemala Whole Bean Coffee, 100% Arabica Bean Single Origin Coffee, Complex & Bold Taste, Notes Of Chocolate, No Preservatives, Guatemala, 8oz (Pack of 6)

This whole coffee beans from Guatemala come in a pressurized 8.8 ounce can, ideal for maintaining freshness and quality. The beans have been sustainably sourced from coffee farms in the Guatemala regions.

This single origin bean has a bold and complex taste, so typical of beans grown in this country. Notes of chocolate flavors will keep you sipping this brew.

Roasting is specifically calibrated to ensure the natural and original natural flavors of this bean is optimized. No preservatives are added.

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Guatemala Coffee Production Facts

The coffee plant was first introduced to Guatemala in the 1700s. However, it only became a key economic contributor in the 1860s when plantations were established and encouraged by the government.

Coffee production was slow to take off, mainly due to a lack of expertise and technology. Small-scale farmers were taking loans out to establish their estates, with many being taken over by foreign companies with more capital on hand.

Small plantations did well in the areas of Antigua and Amatitlan, located in the southwestern area of Guatemala. The labor shortage was a problem especially when production exceeded 22,000 000 kg by 1887.

By the 1900s, the most productive coffee farms (known as fincas) were found along the southern coast. Already, superior coffee beans were being produced as more suitable land was used for cultivation. The different varieties typical of these coffee beans were even produced then owing to the temperate climate.

In 1960, Anacafé (Asociación Nacional del Café) was established. It’s role as the national coffee association, was to support all the coffee producers in the country. Together with the International Coffee Organization (ICO), established in 1963, Anacafé worked to centralize the nation’s coffee production.

For the duration of the 20th and the start of the 21st centuries, Guatemala was Central America’s biggest coffee producer. Honduras took over the lead in 2011 when their own coffee production grew exponentially.

Guatemalan Coffee Industry

Today, Guatemala continues to grow large quantities of coffee. In the past three years, Guatemala’s green production is estimated to be in the range of 3.70 million 60 kg bags per year. It’s interesting to note that Latin America, as a whole, produces up to 99 million 60 kg bags to date.

Over half of the coffee grown in Guatemala is exported to the United States.

The harvesting season results in an influx of migrant workers who work on the coffee farms to supplement their income living in small villages.

The Coffee Growing Regions

Latin America contributes to nearly 60% of the world’s coffee production. It’s thanks to the ideal growing conditions in Guatemala that they can be one of the coffee producers responsible for this contribution.

Different coffee growing regions produce a variety of distinctive beans dependent on the conditions they grow under. These include high altitudes ranging from 1 600 to 16,400 feet, nutrient-rich volcanic soils, microclimatic conditions, and good rainfall.

In total, over 305 000 hectares of land are used to grow and produce coffee in this country, with an estimated 125 000 producers. The different regions are described as follows:


The growing area of Antigua produces a popular coffee, savored by drinkers both locally and globally. Some of the oldest coffee estates of this country are found in this valley circled by three volcanos.

The nutrient-rich volcanic soils, low humidity, sunny days, and cool nights contribute to a bean that offers a full-body, with medium levels of acidity. You can expect a spicy flavor with hints of cocoa and fruity notes.

At one time, green beans were being sent to Antigua from other parts of the country and falsely sold as Antiguan coffee. Anacafé stepped in to stop this practice by strictly regulating the coffee coming from this area.


To the west of Antigua, you’ll find the Acatenango Valley. Coffee plants are grown at an altitude of 2000 feet. They grow on the steep mountainsides, in shady conditions. Constant ash from the nearby Fuego volcano keeps the soils rich and full of nutrients.

It’s low temperatures and winds from the nearby Pacific Ocean plus the sun-dried process of the beans contribute to a uniquely flavored coffee.

This is one of the newest regions producing coffee, receiving a Designation of Origin in 2012.


Surrounding Lake Atitlan, the coffee farms in this area are found at altitudes ranging between 4,000 and 5,900 ft above sea level. With high humidity levels, abundant year-round rainfall, and breezes coming from the Pacific Ocean, this region produces yet another unique bean.

The rich, volcanic soils and organic fertilizers, mean this coffee is as natural as you can get it. The flavors are spicy with hints of florals while its full body offers a smooth mouthfeel.

This rich, aromatic coffee undergoes a wet processing method and is sun-dried after being harvested during the December to March months.

Fraijanes Plateau

This region surrounds the Valley of Ermita and Guatemala City is found here. Coffee farms are located in this mountainous area, on the north side of Lake Amatitlan.

The following conditions contribute to producing a Strictly Hard Bean grade:

  • Elevations ranging from 1,200 to 1,500 feet above sea level
  • Humidity levels up to 60%
  • Nutrient and mineral-rich soil as a result of volcanic activity in the area
  • Annual rainfall of 1,500 mm

Expect your brew to be full-bodied with distinctive levels of acidity and a gentle aroma.


Grown in the rainforests in the northern parts of Guatemala, the climate in the Coban region is typically sub-tropical. It’s humid, with year-round rainfall averaging 3,200 mm per year. Temperatures range from 60 to 70 degrees F.

With elevations ranging from 4,000 to 5,000 ft above sea level, the Coban region produces both SHB and HB graded coffee.

The limestone and clay soils plus its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean influences the flavors and taste of this region’s coffee. You can expect a medium-bodied, low acidic, and balanced brew with clear flavors with hints of spice and wine in the notes.


Located near the border of Mexico, the Huehuetenango’s plantations are found at altitudes between 5,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level. The average, maximum temperature is around 73 degrees F. Up to 1,800 mm of rainfall is recorded annually.

This area has no frost thanks to the hot and dry winds coming over from the Mexican Tehuantepec mountains. The harvest season is from January to April. This popular brew has a fruity, wine flavor and mild acidic levels with a smooth, clean finish.

Nuevo Oriente

Some of the oldest coffee farms are found in this region, lying close to the Honduras border. The climate is wet and overcast while the volcanic, nutrient-rich soil all contribute to ideal growing conditions.

Elevations ranging between 4,000 and 5,500 ft above sea level and temperatures between 64 and 77 degrees F also means you’re getting a premium coffee. The harvest seasons are from December to March.

You can expect your cup of joe to be full-bodied with high acidity, balanced, and a strong aroma.

San Marcos

This region is the hottest area in the country, with high levels of humidity and up to five meters of rainfall per year! Grown on the slopes of high, volcanic mountains, the beans are grown here produce a specialty coffee enjoyed by many drinkers.

Elevations of up to 6,000 feet and its proximity to the Pacific Ocean all contribute to a bean that’s full of floral flavors and aromatic with a distinct level of acidity.

Final Thoughts

There’s something satisfying about drinking coffee when you know where it comes from. With Guatemala coffee, you’re getting a twist on flavors ranging from spicy to fruity wine to sweet cocoa or even hints of citrus. A full-bodied brew with mild acidity and tantalizing aromas.

Being grown at high altitudes and in microclimatic conditions with mostly nutrient-rich volcanic soils, the coffee beans are naturally of premium quality. They’re both SHB and HB graded, guaranteeing you an optimal brew every time.

This brand can be best enjoyed either as a pour-over brew or French press and you can even go cold brew. With these simple brewing methods, you’ll be sure to enjoy your cup of Guatemala coffee every day.