Los Ancestros coffee grows along the mountains that surround the Mayan archaeological site, Zaculeu, in western Guatemala. Huehuetenango’s past is marked by an intense history, beautiful temples, and ancient civilizations that is reflected in the intense fruity notes of Los Ancestros. In Huehuetenango, Caravela (our sourcing partner) works with around 13 coffee growers that contribute to this community. The variety of microclimates, combined with the diversity of altitudes within the region, and the passion of these coffee growers make it possible to produce amazing coffees.
The coffee producers that contribute to Los Ancestros have medium-sized farms. The average size of farms in the region is 14.5 hectares and their productivity is around 1,828 kg of cherries per hectare. Coffee growers in this region are innovators, they love to try new processes, new varieties, and new ways of doing things to achieve better prices. Lately, they have been innovating by experimenting with honey-processed coffees and have achieved some incredible results.
Guatemalan coffee is revered as one of the most flavourful and nuanced cups in the world and with so many growing regions the coffees vary throughout the country both in their cup quality & potential. Most of the coffee in Guatemala these days is grown with the right altitude, soil and climate conditions and most are grown with good quality production and processing systems, resulting in some very good to truly exceptional coffees.
Coffee cultivation in Guatemala was introduced by German immigrants in the 19th century, and coffee has since become a major industry with nearly one quarter of the population involved in coffee production. Guatemala’s high-grown beans (above 4500 feet) are among the world’s best coffee, especially those beans grown on southern volcanic slopes. This country produces 3.5 million bags per year. Coveted blends are the Atitlan and the Huehuetenango.
What makes Guatemalan coffees so unique is its high altitudes, diverse microclimates, consistent rainfall patterns, and excellent cultivation and processing, hence producing a variety of distinctive types of Guatemalan arabica coffees.
More than 225,000 hectares of land are dedicated to the growing of coffee, with production spread across eight distinct regions: Antigua, Acatenango Valley, Atitlan, Cobán, Fraijanes Plateau, Huehuetenango, Nueva Oriente, and San Marcos.
HUEHUETENANGO is probably the most famous (and difficult to pronounce—it is generally said “way-way-ten-AN-go”) region, and has the highest altitudes in the country, as high as 2,000 meters. Crisp malic and citrus acidity, full body, and toffee sweetness mark these coffees, which tend to be the most fruit-forward and can be the most complex of what Guatemala has to offer.