Guatemala - MC Grecof

Go to content

Main menu:






Guatemala was freed of Spanish colonial rule in 1821. During the second half of the 20th century, it experienced a variety of military and civilian governments as well as a 36-year guerrilla war. In 1996, the government signed a peace agreement formally ending the conflict, which had led to the death of more than 100,000 people and had created some 1 million refugees.



Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Honduras and Belize and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico

Map references:

Central America and the Caribbean


total: 108,890 sq km
land: 108,430 sq km
water: 460 sq km


400 km


tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands


mostly mountains with narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateau (Peten)

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Volcan Tajumulco 4,211 m


Gesamtlänge 1.687 Kilometer.



12,974,361 (July 2001 est.)


noun: Guatemalan(s)
adjective: Guatemalan

Ethnic groups:

Mestizo (mixed Amerindian-Spanish or assimilated Amerindian - in local Spanish called Ladino), approximately 55%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian, approximately 43%, whites and others 2%


Roman Catholic, Protestant, indigenous Mayan beliefs


Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (more than 20 Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca)


Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Guatemala
conventional short form: Guatemala
local long form: Republica de Guatemala
local short form: Guatemala

Government type:

constitutional democratic republic



Administrative divisions:

22 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, Chimaltenango, Chiquimula, El Progreso, Escuintla, Guatemala, Huehuetenango, Izabal, Jalapa, Jutiapa, Peten, Quetzaltenango, Quiche, Retalhuleu, Sacatepequez, San Marcos, Santa Rosa, Solola, Suchitepequez, Totonicapan, Zacapa

Flag description:

three equal vertical bands of light blue (hoist side), white, and light blue with the coat of arms centered in the white band; the coat of arms includes a green and red quetzal (the national bird) and a scroll bearing the inscription LIBERTAD 15 DE SEPTIEMBRE DE 1821 (the original date of independence from Spain) all superimposed on a pair of crossed rifles and a pair of crossed swords and framed by a wreath


Economy - overview:

The agricultural sector accounts for about one-fourth of GDP, two-thirds of exports, and half of the labor force. Coffee, sugar, and bananas are the main products. Former President ARZU (1996-2000) worked to implement a program of economic liberalization and political modernization. The 1996 signing of the peace accords, which ended 36 years of civil war, removed a major obstacle to foreign investment. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch caused relatively little damage to Guatemala compared to its neighbors. Ongoing challenges include increasing government revenues, negotiating further assistance from international donors, and increasing the efficiency and openness of both government and private financial operations. Despite low international prices for Guatemala's main commodities, the economy grew by 3% in 2000 and is forecast to grow by 4% in 2001. Guatemala, along with Honduras and El Salvador, recently concluded a free trade agreement with Mexico and has moved to protect international property rights. However, the PORTILLO administration has undertaken a review of privatizations under the previous administration, thereby creating some uncertainty among investors.


sugar, textiles and clothing, furniture, chemicals, petroleum, metals, rubber, tourism

Agriculture - products:

sugarcane, corn, bananas, coffee, beans, cardamom; cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens


quetzal (GTQ), US dollar (USD), others allowed



total: 884 km (102 km privately owned)
narrow gauge: 884 km 0.914-m gauge (single track)

Ports and harbors:

Champerico, Puerto Barrios, Puerto Quetzal, San Jose, Santo Tomas de Castilla



Champerico, Puerto Barrios, Puerto Quetzal, Santo Tomas



Arabica: classified as per altitude SHB, HB, Xprime and per preparation
Robusta: washed

Port of Export:

Santo Tomas de Castillo, Puerto Barrios


In container in bags (275 bags each 69,- kos net) or bulk 20.7 tons


abt. 3.8 Mio bags

Export figures:

abt. 2.5 Mio bags

Caffeine content:

1,32 %

Guatemala blends


Antigua Coffee

Rich volcanic soil, low humidity, lots of sun and cool nights characterize the Antigua region. The valley is dominated by the magnificent volcanoes of Agua, Acatenango and Fuego. Every once in a while, Fuego--one of Guatemala's three active volcanoes,--adds a fresh dusting of mineral rich ash to Antigua's soil. By far the driest of Guatemalas seven coffee regions, volcanic pumice in the soil retains moisture. Like all of Guatemalas specialty coffee, Antigua Coffee is cultivated under shade. In Antigua, shade is especially dense to protect the coffee trees from the regions occasional frost during the chilly nights from December to February. The dense shade combined with the regions shallow water table produce a distinct microclimate within the coffee fields

Cup Characteristics
A very aromatic and flavorful cup with floral notes. Full and buttery body with a bright /sparkling acidity. The most recognizable Guatemalan coffee by coffee connoisseurs.

Altitude: 5000-5600ft / 1500-1700m
Soil: Volcanic with pumice
Microclimate: Enclosed valley

Rainfall : 32-48 in / 800-1,200 mm
Temperature : 64°-72°F / 18°-22°C
Humidity : 65% (constant)

Drying Process: Sun
Dryer Shade : Gravilea
Varieties : Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai
Harvest Season : Jan / mid-Mar

Fraijanes Plateu

Volcanic soil filled with pumice, very high altitude and an active volcano are characteristics that Fraijanes shares with nearby Antigua. But plenty of rain, high and variable humidity, and a wider temperature range give Fraijanes a very different climate.
Pacaya, the most active of Guatemalas three live volcanoes, supplies the region with a light deposit of ash every so often, giving the soil an important mineral boost. The dry season has lots of sun. Although clouds, fog and very heavy dew are common in the early morning, they burn off quickly so that all Fraijanes Plateau is sun dried.

Cup Characteristics
A thick/buttery body that coats your mouth, intensifying its complex flavor. Aftertaste is long and resonant. Very well balanced with fine acidity.

Altitude: 4500-6000ft / 1500-2000m
Soil: Volcanic with pumice
Microclimate: Highland Plain

Rainfall : 60-120in / 1500-3000mm
Temperature : 54°-79°F / 12°-26°C
Humidity : 70-90%

Drying Process: Sun
Dryer Shade : Inga
Varieties : Bourbon Caturra, Catuai, Pache
Harvest Season : Dec / Feb

Highland Huehue

Huehuetenango is the driest and the highest of the three non-volcanic regions producing specialty coffee. It is also by far the most rugged and remote area in Guatemala, with coffee cultivated in broken and very steep terrain. Thanks to the dry, hot winds that blow into the mountains from the Tehuantepec plain in Mexico, the region is protected from frost, allowing coffee to be cultivated up to 6,500 feet. Huehuetenangos extreme remoteness requires that virtually every producer, large or small, individual or farm, process his own coffee. Fortunately, the region has an almost infinite number of rivers and streams, so a mill can be located almost anywhere.

Cup Characteristics:
Deep Flavor develops in ones palate in layers. Very clean Acidity. Good balance between Acidity and Body. Long Aftertaste.

Altitude: 5000-6500ft / 1500-2000m
Soil: Limestone
Microclimate: Tehuantepec Plain

Rainfall : 48-56in / 1200-1400mm
Temperature : 68°-75°F / 20°-24°C
Humidity : 70-80%

Drying Process: Sun
Dryer Shade : Inga
Varieties : Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai
Harvest Season : Jan / Apr

New Oriente

Rainy and cloudy, Oriente is similar to Cobán in climate, only less so. Located over what was once a volcano range its soil is derived from metamorphic rock. This makes it balanced in minerals and very different from Guatemala's volcanic regions, all of which have seen volcanic activity since coffee was first planted.
Coffee in this region has been cultivated almost exclusively by small producers since the 1950s. In the 1980s, responding to the increasing demand for specialty coffee, the region took off. Today, with virtually every back yard a coffee farm, what was one of Guatemalas poorest and most isolated areas is vibrant and growing. Rainy and cloudy, New Oriente is similar to Cobán in climate, only less so. Located over what was once a volcanic range, its soil is made from metamorphic rock. This makes it balanced in minerals and very different from Guatemalas volcanic regions, all of which have seen volcanic activity since coffee was first planted.

Cup Characteristics:
New Oriente is Guatemala's newest regional coffee. It is aromatic, with a marked acidity and a good body. A Vanilla-like Aroma. Smooth Body and Clear Acidity. Strong flavor sweet and caramelly

Altitude: 4300-5500ft / 1300-1700m
Soil: Metamorphic & Clay
Microclimate: Atlantic Ocean

Rainfall : 72-80in / 1800-2000mm
Temperature :64°-77°F 18°-25°C
Humidity : 70-80%

Drying Process: Sun & Dryer
Dryer Shade : Inga
Varieties : Bourbon, Catuai, Caturra, Pache
Harvest Season : Dec / Mar

Rainforest Cobán

Cobán is quite different from Guatemalas other coffee regions: cloudy, rainy and cool all year-round, with soil formed from limestone and clay. Most Rainforest Cobán is cultivated on the regions distinctive rolling hills, under the tropical influences of the Atlantic Basin and the jungles to the north. Cobán has two seasons: rainy and rainier. The annual rainfall range is the second highest of the coffee growing regions, with the heaviest rains from May to December. During the rest of the year, the regions celebrated chipi-chipi frequently engulfs the region in a fine mist that falls from dense cloud cover.

Cup Characteristics:
A pleasant fruity fragrance and flavor distinguishes this coffee from the other regions. Balanced and delicate acidity. Creamy and full Body.

Altitude: 4300-5000ft / 1300-1500m
Soil: Limestone and Clay
Microclimate: Atlantic Ocean

Rainfall : 120-160 in / 3000-4000 mm
Temperature :59-68°F / 15-20°C
Humidity : 85-95%

Drying Process: Dryer
Dryer Shade : Inga
Varieties : Bourbon, Maragogype, Catuai, Caturra, Pache
Harvest Season : Dec / Mar

Traditional Atitlán

Of Guatemalas four volcanic coffee regions, Atitláns soil is the richest in organic matter. Ninety percent of Traditional Atitlán is cultivated along the slopes of the dramatic volcanoes that dominate the shores of Lake Atitlán, the largest and most famous of Guatemalas many crater lakes. The daily winds (called Xocomil) that stir the cold lake water are an important influence on this microclimate. The cultures highly developed artisan tradition is reflected in the small producers skilled cultivation and processing. Although some take their coffee to nearby farms for milling, many belong to cooperatives with their own mill, or process their harvest at home.

Cup Characteristics:
Strong aroma with a spicy/nutty character. The flavor is sweet and complex. Smooth acidity and heavy body. Long, sometimes-spicy aftertaste notes.

Altitude: 5000-5600ft / 1500-1700m
Soil: Volcanic
Microclimate: Large crater lake

Rainfall: 72-92in / 1800-2300mm
Temperature: 68°-73°F / 20°-23°C
Humidity: 75-85%

Drying Process: Sun
Dryer Shade: Graviela & Inga
Varieties: Bourbon, Typica, Caturra, Catuai
Harvest Season : Dec / Mar

Volcanic San Marcos

The warmest of all of the seven coffee-growing regions, San Marcos also has the highest rainfall, the most intense rainy season, and the earliest flowering. The seasonal rains come earlier than in the other regions, arriving by mid-April and tapering off mid-November. As they build to a crescendo in June and September, they become torrential deluges, raising annual rainfall in some areas to an impressive 200 inchesby far the most of any of the coffee-growing regions, even rainy and cloudy Cobán. As in all of Guatemalas remote regions, most of the coffee is cultivated on farms with their own processing mills. Because of the unpredictability of the rain during the harvest season, much of the coffee is pre-dried in the sun and with and finished in a Guardiola dryer.

Cup Characteristics:
Sweet and mellow flavor and aroma, with a clear /soft acidity. Smooth and light Body. Strong coffee character.

Altitude: 4600-6000ft / 1400-1800m
Soil: Volcanic
Microclimate: Pacific Ocean

Rainfall: 160-200in / 4000-5000mm
Temperature: 70-81°F / 21-27°C
Humidity: 70-80%

Drying Process: Sun & Dryer
Dryer Shade: Inga
Varieties: Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai
Harvest Season : Dec / Mar

Back to content | Back to main menu