Scroll through any Facebook feed and you’re likely to see a sprinkling of quotes about coffee.

 

Water is the most essential element of life, because without water you can’t make coffee.

The only good substitute for a coffee is two coffees.

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy coffee and that’s pretty close.

A day without coffee is like something without something. (Yeah, I know. It took me awhile to figure that out too.)

 

This quote from Johann Sebastian Bach, however, tops them all: “Without my morning coffee, I’m just like a dried up piece of roast goat.” Talk about a need for coffee.

 

Coffee experience

In America, coffee is more than quote material or just a simple beverage; it’s an experience. It means holding a steaming cup between two formerly cold hands while enjoying conversation with a friend. It means caffeinated relief during a drawn-out business meeting. It means company and energy during studies for final exams. Coffee is a common bond shared by suburban moms, business executives, and students alike.

 

Coffee industry

But behind that experience is an industry. The coffee industry around the world brings in roughly $60 billion a year. Guatemala is one of the biggest contributors to that industry, ranking in the top ten coffee-producing countries of the world. A variety of microclimates in Guatemala ranging from rainforest to highlands produces eight different types of beans*, named according to their region.

 

  1. Fraijanes Plateau – Bright, persistent acidity. Aromatic with a defined body.
  2. New Oriente – Well balanced and full-bodied with a chocolaty flavor.
  3. Highland Huehue – Fine, intense acidity with a full body and pleasant wine notes.
  4. Traditional Atitlán – Aromatic with a bright citrus acidity and full body.
  5. Acatenango Valley – Distinct acidity, fragrant aroma, balanced body, and clean lingering finish.
  6. Antigua coffee – Elegant, well balanced, sweet with a rich aroma.
  7. Rainforest Cobán – distinct fresh fruit notes. Fine, well-balanced body and pleasant aroma.

 

 

Guatemala coffee on the bush

 

A Livelihood

Behind the industry are those for whom coffee is a way of life. Though big corporations pull in nearly $60 billion a year, working coffee farmers often see less than ten percent of that. Bean by bean they lay away enough for food, clothes, and home. Their hard work and determination make them the essence of that cup of coffee you hold in your hand.

 

For a chance to win 12 months of free coffee from around the world, including Guatemala,
enter Niteo Tour’s AROUND-THE-WORLD Coffee Giveaway.

Guatemalan coffee is known for its hints of spice and chocolate undertones. What impacts that flavor is soil chemistry, amount of rainfall, amount of sun, weather, altitude, and processing techniques. All blend together to offer up distinct flavors that often vary even within beans picked from a single plantation.

Sources: PBS, Coffee Review, Guatemalan National Coffee Association, National Coffee Association USA

*Coffee descriptions from Anacafé (Guatemalan National Coffee Association).

Guatemala coffee farmer's daughter

Adam’s daughter weaves intricate designs

 

A Coffee Family

Take a Niteo Tour in Guatemala and you’ll have a chance to visit Adam, a coffee farmer of Mayan descent. He takes immense pride in his farm near Lake Atitlán. Never mind that it’s a small patch of land. Never mind that what he makes is a fraction of what the large plantation owners bring in. It’s his land. His. Own. And he farms it with meticulousness and attention to detail.

 

In order to provide for the family, Adam supplements coffee farming with other jobs. And other family members pitch in as well. His daughter makes fine weavings and intricate beadwork to sell.

 

 

Guatemala coffee farmer

Adam, the coffee farmer