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Travel Diary : Part 1 - Antigua, Guatemala

Our General Manager, Chris Nikolakopoulos, spent 3 weeks travelling in South America visiting green coffee farms to select from the best coffees available. We are publishing a series of extracts from his travel diary to give you a great insight into the life of a coffee farmer.

I spent 4 weeks in Antigua, one of the major coffee growing regions in Guatemala. I moved in with a Guatemalan family that provided me with a base to go out and visit a number of different coffee farms and processing mills.

Guatemala is a relatively small country yet it produces some of the world's best coffees with each region offering something different. It was also interesting to learn that approx. 98% all Guatemalan coffees are shade grown due to the high elevation of most coffee farms. These higher elevations expose the coffee plants intense rays from the sun but also the less protection during the tropical down pours of rainy season.

Antigua has an ideal coffee-growing climate as three volcanos surround it. Hence, the soil of the coffee plants is extremely rich in minerals and therefore the coffee farms are able to produce quite unique and distinguished coffees.

I was able to cup a number of different coffees in Guatemala with some local friends made along the way. They told me to look out for complex flavours with hints of cocoa. I noted quite a full bodied cup that definitely did have hints of cocoa but it also had some spicy notes running through it.

One of the best parts of Antigua, was that there was no shortage of good cafes. Here is a list of my favourites:

  • Tretto Café

  • Refuge

  • Parada Cafe

Here are some photos from my time in Anigua, Guatemala.

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