Learn a little more about coffee from Guatemala
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This month we're digging a little deeper into coffees from Guatemala, providing you with some interesting facts and figures as well as hopefully tempting you to try the latest coffee in our range, Finca Jaja.  We've also included an offer on this coffee which can be redeemed throughout February - more details below.

Coffee has been cultivated in Guatemala since the mid 1700s.  At that time the main cash crop in the country was indigo but the invention of chemical dyes in 1856 led to a reduction in demand.  Coffee became an important crop and various government initiatives since then have strengthened the importance of the crop to the country.  

In 2015 Guatemala produced 3,400,000 sack of coffee, making it the third largest producer in Central America, behind only Mexico and Honduras.  
The terrain in Guatemala provides ideal locations for growing coffee: numerous mountain ranges create 270,000 hectares of coffee growing land, with much of it above 1,300m.  Consistent rainfall patterns which include at least one hard dependable rain during the dry season, induces the flowering that turns into coffee eight months later.
Guatemala uses a system of altitude grading to classify the coffee grown:

Strictly Hard Bean (SHB): coffee grown above 4,500 feet (1,370m)

Semi Hard Bean - Hard Bean (HB): coffee grown between 3,500 and 4,500 feet (1,066 to 1,370m)

Prime and Extra Prime: coffee grown between 2,500 and 3,500 feet (762 to 1,066m)
There are 8 coffee growing regions in Guatemala, each with their own unique characteristics:
Huehuetenango is a non-volcanic region benefiting from hot winds which blow down from Mexico.  This allows coffee to be cultivated as high as 2,000m.  Due to its remote location most producers process their own coffee on the farm, made possible due to the vast number of rivers and streams in the region.

Altitude: 1,500m to 2,000m
Harvest: January to April
Varieties: Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai
San Marcos is the warmest of the 8 coffee growing regions and also has the highest annual rainfall, reaching up to 200 inches.  The seasonal rains come sooner than in other regions, producing the earliest flowering.  Coffee in this region is often pre-dried in the sun and then finished in Guardiola dryers.

Altitude: 1,300m to 1,800m
Harvest: December to March
Varieties: Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai
Atitlán is one of five volcanic regions in Guatemala and has some of the richest soils.  Traditional Atitlán is cultivated on the slopes of volcanoes which dominate the shore of Lake Atitlán.  Daily winds stir the cold lake waters, creating a unique microclimate.

Altitude: 1,500m to 1,700m
Harvest: December to March
Varieties: Bourbon, Typica, Caturra, Catuai
Antigua is characterised by rich volcanic soil, lots of sun and cool nights.  The valley is surrounded by three volcanoes one of which, Fuego, adds a fresh dusting of mineral rich ash to Antigua's soil.  Volcanic pumice in the soil retains moisture, which helps offset Antigua's low rainfall.

Altitude: 1,500m to 1,700m
Harvest: January to mid-March
Varieties: Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai
Coffee in the Acatenango Valley is grown under dense shade as high as 2,000m.  As in Antigua, constant eruptions from the nearby Fuego volcano keep the coarse, sandy soils full of minerals.  Temperate gusts from the Pacific Ocean and the defined season allows coffee to be sun dried.

Altitude: 1,300m to 2,000m
Harvest: December to mid-March
Varieties: Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai
Cobán is cloudy, rainy and cool all year round.  Most coffee in Cobán is cultivated on the areas distinctive  rolling hills, under the tropical influences of the Atlantic Basin, in limestone and clay soils.  Cobán has two seasons: rainy and rainier!

Altitude: 1,300m to 1,500m
Harvest: December to March
Varieties: Bourbon, Maragogype, Pache, Caturra, Catuai
Fraijanes is characterised by volcanic pumice soil, very high altitudes, plenty of rain, variable humidity and an active volcano. Pacaya, the most active of Guatemala's volcanoes, supplies the region with a light dusting of ash every so often.  The dry season has lots of sun allowing coffee in this region to be sun-dried.

Altitude: 1,400m to 1,800m
Harvest: December to February
Varieties: Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai, Pache
New Oriente was once one of Guatemala's poorest and most isolated areas.  Today virtually every farm on the mountain has become a coffee producing unit and the region is now vibrant and growing.  The climate in the region is rainy and cloudy, and the soils are made of metamorphic rock and are balanced in minerals.

Altitude: 1,300m to 1,700m
Harvest: December to March
Varieties: Bourbon, Pache, Caturra, Catuai
Finca Jauja is our latest offering from Guatemala.  The farm is situated at an altitude of 1,550m in the Antigua Valley, which makes this coffee Strictly Hard bean (SHB).  Jauja was one of the first farms to grow coffee in Antigua, initially under the ownership of the Herrera family and more recently, since 2010, with the Zelaya family in control.

The Zelaya family is passionately committed to both quality and sustainability. The family’s farms are scrupulously well-managed right from the careful selection of varietals planted, to the close supervision of the dry and wet mills. Coffee on all of the farms that they own and/or manage is shade grown, which protects the plants from direct sunlight, maintains soil health, and provides an important habitat for birds and insect life. The family’s mills are also eco-friendly and feature sedimentation tanks that prevent pollution of the local river systems.

The Zelaya family treats workers on their farms as members of the family, which is why, in 2010, Ricardo began a scholarship program to help workers pay for the education of their children.  Many of the workers on the farm have been with the family for generations and seasonal workers return year upon year during the busy harvest period.  The Zelaya family also own Finca Santa Clara, a coffee we've previously used.  The workers at this particular farm recently produced this video to express their satisfaction at their working environment.  It also gives a wonderful insight into the lives of those working on coffee farms.
Hopefully all this information, and not least the wonderful video, has tempted you to try this coffee.  You can order a bag of this coffee here and not only is delivery included but we're offering an additional 10% discount throughout February.  Simply use the discount code JAUJA at the checkout and your discount will be applied.

If you enjoy this coffee you can use the same discount code until 29th February 2016 (we even remembered it is a leap year!) 
In compiling the above information we needed to refer to a number of sources:
Data on coffee production in Guatemala came from the International Coffee Organisation,
For the short history on Guatemalan coffee we referred to 'The World Atlas of Coffee' by James Hoffmann
Information on the coffee growing regions came from The Green Book, an App produced by Guatemalan Coffees,
Copyright © 2016 Carvetii Coffee Limited, All rights reserved.

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