Antigua, the oldest and best known coffee growing region in Guatemala, has played an important role in the development of coffee ever since the Jesuit missionaries introduced coffee to the country in 1760. Today it is known for its Bourbon variety.

The Antigua Valley is called Panchoy, a name from the indigenous Cachiquel tribe meaning “large lagoon.” This name has been used for the valley since the founding of Antigua hundreds of years ago. The valley is surrounded by three impressive volcanoes, “Agua”, “Fuego” and “Acatenango”, creating beautiful vistas in every direction. The soils in the valley are composed of volcanic ash; dark in color and well drained. They contain an unusual concentration of minerals which creates uniquely fertile growing conditions (at 1500 masl) that contribute to this region’s highly regarded coffee production.

Our sun-dried American Roast selection this month from Guatemala is considered to be medium bodied. You will find it to be crisp and clean to the taste — a real eye opener for your first (or second or third) cup of wake-up morning brew!


The BAD NEWS: In a ten-year-long National Cancer Institute study of 450,000 participates aged 50 to 71, it was found that 2,904 people developed malignant melanoma.

The GOOD NEWS: The participants who drank four or more cups of coffee daily had a 20 percent lower risk compared to non-coffee drinkers. Anti-oxidative compounds in coffee are believed to suppress the growth of skin cancer cells. Yay!!


Deep in the hills of the Mejicanos region, the Aguilar family has been producing coffee for six generations. The 150-hectare farm is located in the vicinity of San Salvador, in the province of Mejicanos, at an altitude of 1250 to 1650 meters above sea level. Their coffee crop consists largely of Red Bourbon, with just a sprinkling of the Pacamara variety.  Certified by *The Rainforest Alliance, harvest takes place December through April. Crops are processed with the fully washed method, then the coffee beans are sun-dried on patios and in raised African beds.

Finca Santa Maria, owned and operated by father and son Juan and Fernando, is an ambitious coffee estate. The Aguilar family prospers, combining new farming techniques with new technologies to better improve their product with each and every crop. The Santa Maria estate has been producing coffee since 1890, and proudly continues that legacy.

Their offering is a mild coffee, so bringing it up to the Vienna Roast gives it a slightly heavier body. This also allows the drinker to still taste the unique nuances of the coffee.


To be Rainforest Alliance Certified, a grower must have a specified number of species of trees planted per hectare. The plantation workers benefit greatly, as the farm must provide them with fresh water wells, a lodging place or dorm-like housing, dining and daycare facilities, as well as a medical clinic. There is also to be a small store for them to patronize. RFA agents visit the farm monthly to assure that all standards are being met, and to keep the farm’s certification up to date. With no “middle man” to share the funds with, the Rainforest Alliance insures that all proceeds go back to the farm and its valued employees.

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