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Guatemala Coffee Growers Association to launch generic campaign.

Guatemala Coffee Growers Association to launch generic campaign

The Asociacion Nacional Del Cafe of Guatemala (ANACAFE) plans to announce a new marketing program designed to provide U.S. retailers, specialty coffee roasters and consumers with its finest quality regional coffees. At the same time, the program extends educational support to the more than 45,000 Guatemalan coffee farmers. According to ANACAFE president Dr. Jaime Casals, "Our objective is to let the U.S. market in on one of the world's best kept secrets, Guatemalan regional coffees. At the same time we are increasing educational and technological support to Guatemalan farmers." ANACAFE will officially launch the program at the upcoming Specialty Coffee Association of America 1990 Annual Conference and Trade show in Oakland, California, April 30-May 1, at the Claremont Resort.

Coffee is Guatemala's leading export and is known particularly for its high-grown varietals including Genuine Antigua, Coban and Huehuetenango. These regions offer coffee enthusiasts a variety of distinctive tastes with a range of characteristics in the cup.

Following a recent trip to Guatemala, Dave Olsen of Starbucks coffee commented, "I found significant differences in the processing from region to region. when I pointed this out to one of the farmers, he indicated that the different approaches to growing, processing and fermenting result from the differences in soil and climate as well as taste and philosophy."

Approximately the size of Tennessee, Guatemala is known for her majestic landscapes, volcanoes and picturesque lakes here. Streams and ravines cut across her. The history of coffee in this country began long before 1750. Jesuits brought Arabica beans and Arabica derivatives, descended from the original Ethiopian Arabica plant, to Guatemala from the Caribbean. During the 1850's, Guatemalan coffee exporting blossomed in response to the growing popularity of its distinctive coffees both in Europe and in the U.S. A total of approximately 2.9 million bags are produced for export each year, with roughly one million bags distributed among roasters in the U.S.

A mild subtropical climate, combined with well-drained volcanic soils, produces washed mild coffee with distinctive aromas and flavor characteristics. The often steep mountain sides are covered with Coffea Arabica trees growing under a canopy of taller shade trees. The coffee trees, which flower and fruit in the gentle climate more slowly than in other parts of the world, will blossom throughout spring and summer. They will yield ripe fruit from September through March, depending on the elevation.

The rains from May to mid-October provide abundant water for growing. Coffee is typically harvested during the spring and autumn. The dry season lasts from mid-October to mid-May. Guatemala is in the tropics, but because of the altitude the climate is sub-tropical.

Many of the best coffee-producing farms have been maintained by the same family for generations. Other large estates have been divided among a number of farmers and ae now managed cooperatively. The majority of Guatemala's coffee producers have small plots known as parcelas, which produce less than forty hundred weight of Arabica beans for export each year. The majority of the country's coffee farmers can be found primarily in the central and southern regions of Guatemala, where altitudes range from 2,500 to 6,000 feet. The Asociacion Nacional del Cafe's program provides these producers with state-of-the-art technological information, medical care and other social services.

Asociacion president Casals explained, "The initial phase of the marketing program will target the U.S. specialty roaster, retailer and distributor who understands the difference between a fine coffee and an average coffee in the cup. The concept is that these experts will in turn, encourage their customers to enjoy Guatemalan high-grown regional coffees." According to ANACAFE's U.S. marketing representative Melissa Pugash, "We are launching the program with an initial marketing survey. This will provide us with sales figures and retail prices throughout the country; and more importantly, it will establish an invaluable exchange of information among those who grow, distribute and consume fine coffees." This program has been designed to promote ongoing communication between the U.S. trade and Guatemalan farmers. She continues, "Our objective is to learn how we can help importers, retailers and roasters sell more coffee."

Glossary of Guatemalan Coffee Terms

Antigua - region in central Guatemala

known for its fine Arabica

coffees (see also Genuine

Antigua). "Arabigo" - a type of coffee. ANACAFE - Asociacion Nacional

del Cafe, Guatemala's national

coffee association. Atitlan - coffee growing region in

the Guatemalan highlands

named for its world famous lake

and its volcanoes. Beneficio - coffee processing plant Bourbon - a variety of Coffea

arabica originally appeared

on the island of Bourbon, now

known as Reunion and located

near Madagascar in the Indian

Ocean. Cafe en Oro - literally translated as

coffee in gold, it is actually

coffee that has been dried in its

parchment. Also known as

"green bean," it is coffee in

export form. Cafetal - an area of coffee trees. Cereza - cherry. See also maduro. Coban - region in northern

Guatemala known for its fine

arabica coffees Finca - literally meaning farm, the

term generally refers to medium

or small Guatemalan farms or

estates Finguero - farmer Genuine Antigua - coffee beans

grown in limited quantities in

Guatemala's Antigua region

possessing distinctive and highly

prized flavor characteristics. Huehuetenango - a region in the

Highlands of Guatemala known

for its fine Arabica coffees. Maduro - ripe coffee cherry or

fruit. See also cereza. Maragogype - a variety of Coffea

arabica identified by its extraordinarily

large size. Parcelas - small plots or farms that

produce less than forty hundred-weight

of arabica beans for export

each year. Pergamino - the term used for coffee

beans still in their parchment

husk after fermentation. Plantaciones - large coffee farms Quintale - also known as a "hundred

weight," it is equivalent to

100 lbs. or 46 kilos. "Typica" - a variety of Coffea

arabica commonly found in Guatemala "Wet Method" - also known as

"washed," is the most costly

method of processing beans. The

hand-picked cherries are fed into

machines which remove the

pulp. The beans are fermented,

washed and then dried.

prepared by Melissa J. Pugash U.S. Marketing Representative ANACAFE
COPYRIGHT 1990 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
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Title Annotation:includes glossary
Author:Pugash, Melissa J.
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Apr 1, 1990
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