There is evidence that coffee was grown in Guatemala before 1747. But it was not until 1856 that cultivation became relevant, when the invention of chemical dyes reduced the demand for indigo. This was the main crop at that time. The government distributed about 1 million coffee seeds to drive the industry. By 1880, coffee exports accounted for about 90% of Guatemala's exports.
Today, the Asociación Nacional Del Café (ANACAFE) ensures that coffee exported from Guatemala continues to meet the country's high standards. To do this, the coffees are graded according to two systems. One refers to the altitude at which the coffee was grown, with "strictly hard bean" (SHB) being the highest grade in this system. The other system does not refer to quality, but ensures that a coffee with a regional name, such as Guatemala Antigua or Guatemala Huehuetenango, matches the flavor profile of the corresponding region. If a coffee's flavor profile does not match the normal profile of the region, it can still be called SHB or another variety - but it cannot be marketed as a regional coffee.
Guatemala's unique and diverse growing regions, with a mild subtropical climate combined with nutrient-rich volcanic soils, create an ideal environment for growing excellent coffee.
This diversity is also reflected in the flavors: It ranges from light bodies with fruity, sweet and complex notes to heavy bodies with rich chocolaty notes.