The Guatemalan coffee industry developed around the 1850s. Small plantations in Amatitlán and Antigua were the first and grew quickly, but lack of widespread knowledge, technology, and labor caused slow growth. Over a decade, growth increased and between 1879 and 1893 exports reached almost 300 million pounds.
Of the three non-volcanic regions, Huehuetenango is the highest and driest under cultivation. This area is one of the best regions in Guatemala for coffee production. Huehuetenango, is at the foot of the Cuchumatanes, the highest non-volcanic mountain range in Central America. There are currents of hot air that sweep up from Mexico’s Tehuantepec plain that cross paths with cool air descending from the Cuchumatanes Mountains. This region is thus protected from frost, allowing the coffee to be cultivated up to 2,000 meters. Huehuetenango’s extreme remoteness requires that nearly all producers process their own coffee. Fortunately, the region has an almost unlimited number of rivers and streams, so a mill can be located just about anywhere. This region has ideal geographic conditions for the cultivation of great quality coffee. Coffees from Huehuetenango are exceptional coffees with distinct acidity and fruited flavors.