Today we’re going to be looking at a coffee that perfectly toes the line between quality and affordability: Guatemala Antigua. Guatemala is the second largest producer of coffee in Central America, and in many ways, Antigua beans represent all the best qualities beans in this region can offer. For those looking to switch from drinking mass-produced coffee to high-end beans, Guatemala Antigua is the perfect first step.
History and geography
Coffee production began in Guatemala in the mid-1800s with the development of small plantations. With the significant foreign investment at the time, the coffee industry flourished and for a large portion of the late 20th century and early 21st century, Guatemala was the largest producer of coffee in Central America. In recent years, Honduras has become the largest coffee producer in the region; however, Guatemala is not far behind.
The Antigua coffee region is located near the Southern coast of Guatemala. Beans are grown in a valley surrounded by three volcanic mountains. The area is between 4,600 and 5,600 feet above sea level and has steady 66-71°F temperatures, a reliable weather pattern, heavy rainfall, and a constant high level of humidity. The elevation, nutrient-rich volcanic soil, and ideal weather conditions all combine to create a perfect environment for growing high-quality arabica coffee beans.
In order to ensure that you are only drinking the highest quality beans, make sure to purchase Antigua coffee that is categorized as Strictly Hard Bean (SHB). Coffees with this classification are tested and approved by the Guatemalan Coffee Association to ensure high standards are maintained.
Guatemala Antigua is known for its complex flavor profile, especially when compared with other Central American beans. The coffee has a bright acidity combined with a surprisingly full body. This pairing of heavy and light qualities results in a coffee that is both refreshing and fulfilling.
In terms of aroma, the coffee has a notable floral intensity as well as hints of citrus fruits. In terms of actual tastes, Antigua is spicy and smoky with strong hints of chocolate and caramel. In addition, Antigua feature the nutty flavors typically found in other coffees from this region. Unlike many Central American coffees, Antigua has a rich texture that lends itself very well to dark roasts and espresso roasts.
In terms of complimentary flavors, you can’t go wrong with pairing Antigua with some rich and creamy chocolate. The chocolate will really enhance the cocoa flavors in the coffee and bring out the spiciness. Another excellent pairing is peanut butter-based confectionaries. Anything that combines chocolate and peanut butter will work well when pairing with Antigua, as will citrus-based treats.