Our last coffee for 2019 comes from Eugenio Ahilon Escalante, who grows the Caturra varietal of coffee on around 3.5 hectares of his farm, called La Joya.
Guatemala’s production of coffee first grew in the 1860s on the back of a declining indigo trade, which was previously the main export. Until 2011 Guatemala was in the top five highest producing coffees nations in the world, before being overtaken by Honduras.
The majority of coffee farmers in Guatemala are small holders and a large percentage of them, along with the general population of Guatemala, associate with the 20 officially recognised indigenous communities of Guatemala.
The country’s national coffee institute, Anacafé, has been an important figure in helping Guatemala combat the outbreak of leaf rust in the country. Since 2012, the outbreak of this disease has reduced crop out-put by up to 25% and has forced farmers to move away from traditional varieties such as bourbon and caturra and instead move towards newer, more disease resistant varietals.