While coffee was grown and served in Guatemala as soon as 1747, it didn’t get rolling until the invention of chemical dyes in 1856, replacing indigo as the main cash crop. The Commission for Coffee Cultivation and Promotion, formed in 1845, boosted the coffee production with educational coffee materials, established pricing and quality levels for coffee and distributed coffee seeds. 1871 saw land taken from indigenous people of Guatemala and turned into coffee plantations to further to agenda of making coffee the backbone of the economy. By 1880, coffee reached 90% of Guatemala’s exports.
The Great Depression caused the government to lower the price of coffee to try to stimulate export, build coffee infrastructure, and give a lot of power to American company, United Fruit Company. A government overthrow launched Guatemala into a civil war from 1960 to 1996. Many of the issues that caused the civil war are still a problem today: poverty, land distribution, hunger, racism towards indigenous people.
Coffee leaf rust is an increasing problem for the area and after the 2001 coffee crisis, many producers have moved to macadamia nuts and avocados. Traceability for Guatemala coffees is high and can be traced down tot he farm, cooperative, or producer level. Wet milling is common for processing.
Meet the Bean: Guatemala Huehuetenango Familia Morales Lot 3
Tasting Notes: Honey, dried plum, tart cherry, mandarin-like acidity, bittersweet cocoa
Varietal: Bourbon, Caturra, Typica
Process: Wet Process
About the Farm: Huehuetenango- “place of the ancients” Highest non-volcanic mountains in Central America. Most dependent region on coffee as a export and many astonishing coffees.
The Morales family is a multi-generational coffee farming group and have built their own wet mill on an incredibly narrow dirt road. The coffees are dried on a large patio on the property and as of last year, they built a good size covered drying house with several rows of raised, mesh lined drying tables.
They have a great, sizable operation and many of the coffees they offer through Coffee Shrub are blends of their best selections, primarily Bourbon and Caturra plants. They also use a Penagos water conserving pulper for processing.
This coffee is part of Coffee Shrub‘s Farm Gate pricing program.