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I’m so excited to formally launch the Guatemala Antigua SHB. This was a coffee of very personal significance for me to roast, because two years ago, my father and I toured Guatemala and specifically visited coffee farms while we were there. We also spent some time in the city of Antigua, coffee capital of Latin America.
Antigua is located in the central highlands of Guatemala. It is famous for its Spanish-influenced architecture and ruins of old churches. It is even designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The culture in Antigua that I was not expecting was its clear place as a coffee capital. There were cafes in every direction. Also interesting was that American chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King have been allowed to open outlets in Antigua – however, to preserve the local culture, these chains are not allowed to have prominent signs outside. You could potentially walk by the McDonald’s and not even know it was there.
One of the most interesting parts of the visit was our tours of Guatemalan coffee farms. My Spanish skills probably doubled as I struggled to translate from our fast-talking guide to my father, who doesn’t speak Spanish. When we were there, they had just completed construction of a new school within the community of coffee farms. When coffee was not being harvested, children had access to improving education. If we continue to invest in quality, we not only enjoy a better cup of coffee, but coffee growing communities have the opportunity to prosper.
The SHB designation of this coffee is abbreviation for Strictly Hard Bean, synonymous with Strictly High Grown. Coffee growing altitudes in Guatemala reach as high as 5,000 feet above sea level, and the SHB designation means that the coffee was grown at least 4,500 feet above sea level. Higher-altitude coffee grows slower, resulting in a denser bean, which results in a more desirable coffee. In short, these are the best beans grown in this area.
I roast the Guatemala Antigua SHB to a medium-dark. I try not to over-roast coffee, and with my connection to this beautiful country, I feel like it would be a disservice to “burn” it. A lighter roast doesn’t develop all of the potential flavor in this coffee, so I’ve found the perfect profile to be somewhere in the middle. A well-balanced coffee that is not high in acidity, a crowd-pleaser for its mellowness, with hints of berry and milk chocolate flavor. It’s the coffee I make for myself at home, and I hope you enjoy it in your home.
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