Coffee

Coffee Culture: Guatemalan Coffee Gets a Makeover

By CHRISTINE QUACH

Third-wave coffee shops are gaining popularity in Guatemala City and other metropolitan areas in one of the world’s top coffee producing countries. Known for exporting excellent quality coffee beans, Guatemala residents have only recently started to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Traditionally, Guatemalans have only consumed low-grade coffee beans that don’t meet exportation standards. Popular coffee trends like artistic lattes and “cuppings” haven’t really existed in Guatemala until a generation of coffee connoisseurs decided to change things.

One notable game-changer, in particular, is café El Injerto. According to NPR, independent coffee shops began gaining attention when El Injerto opened in 2009. Created and run by the Aguirre family, the coffee shop aims to allow “Guatemalans to enjoy their own nation’s coffee.” It was originally a coffee plantation, and now it supplies the handful of El Injerto shops around Guatemala.

In the subsequent years since El Injerto’s first opening, more independent coffee houses such as Rojo Cerezo and Café Sol are introducing artisanal coffee into mainstream coffee consumption. The days of drinking cheap, sour coffee from rejected batches are slowly being phased out by this new generation. The country once exported 100% of their coffee; now, about 10% remains behind for national consumption.

Baristas from popular coffee chains have even broken away and started their own businesses to experiment with new flavor profiles and different preparation methods. Coffee shops now contain imported machinery to produce fancier drinks that draw in patrons of all backgrounds, especially those who lust after enviable coffee posts on social media. In addition to more adventurous cafes, cupping classes are offered at various locations throughout Guatemala City to teach people how to fully appreciate different beans and roasts.

Guatemala’s metropolitan areas now boast a trendy coffee culture that is quickly climbing up the ranks of the world’s most forward-thinking, revolutionary coffee houses. Other coffee-producing countries are beginning to take note by reclaiming their most sought-after product. The universally loved and appreciated art of coffee-making now has officially returned home.

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