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El Viejo Cafe - Coffee in Guatemala

Coffee in Guatemala – an impressive history

The coffee culture in Guatemala started around 1773 when Jesuits brought the first coffee plants to Guatemala.

Later on, around mid of the 18th century, the coffee was first introduced to the public at a religious celebration. Before the coffee was just sometimes used as a kind a medicine.

In the first half of the 19th century the coffee beans developed already a a very important agricultural poduct of Guatemala. The coffe culture developed rapidly and constantly until in 1854 Guatemala exported the coffee beans for the first time to Europe. Just 95 Deci tons with a FOB value von USD $ 10,00 per 50kg, what can be assumed as luxury for that time.

The guatemalian work was and effort were crowned by winning the internaional coffee award in Paris in te year 1867 – the quality of the coffee must been impressive, as the coffee won the first price.

The international coffee

International, often compositions from different beans and origins are offered to the coffee consumer. Mostly the botanic species of Arabica and Robusta are known in Europe – but also other botanic species. Various different products are offered as mixtures (so called Blends) or as Single-Origion types of coffee, different types and duration of roasting leads to a variety of different flavors.

El Viejo Café - Kaffeeröstung - Genuß pur

Coffee is not Coffee – basically the quality and type of the coffee beans as well as the origin has a major impact on the finally taste – besides a variety of other criteria, like roasting, freshness, storage and brewing – some of the factors that influence the taste and flavor.

Cultivation and crop

The process of coffee production tends to be relatively easy, compared for example to chocolate. But also the processes in coffee are labor intensive, beginning with planting the small trees, picking the the small ripe coffee “cherries”. But when having the ripe coffee “cherries” the art is now to get the bean out and to clean, dry and sort the beans – unroasted.

El Viejo Café - Coffee Roasting - The plant

When getting out the bean out of the coffee “cherries”, the pulp is left over. This pulp is often used for composting in Guatemala and is than later used as a natural fertilizer on the fields again.

When having the beans out of the pulp, that often get spread out on large areas to be dried by the sun – the sun does a good job in this. The beans are later collected, cleaned and packed into bags – to be processed in a variety of countries, often mixed which other beans from other origins.

But also as good amount of beans stays here in Guatemala and ist now roasted in special coffee roasting machines. The art of roasting in primarily based on long time experience of the right temperatures and duration, as natural materials and its behaviour may change frequently – so the eye, the ear and the feelings of the roaster decides about the quality of the resulting product.

Over the time more and more different methods of brewing and composing coffee have been developed – here just some of the well known ones:

  • Espresso
  • Milk coffee
  • Frappé
  • Latte Macciato
  • Capuccino
  • and …

as well as specially flavorized variants, for example with Vanilla, Cinnamon or hazelnut – just to name some … but also historically a wide range of locally specialities have been “invented”, like the well known Northern German “Pharisäer”.

These different variants are mainl based on different ingredients, different species of beans, different roastings as well as other brewing procedures.

But nevertheless, coffee harmony and flavor can be influenced as well by

  • Water qualitya and pH value
  • Brewing temperature and -duration
  • Water or air pressure (z.B. Espresso)
  • Milling level and quality

It’s true – making the perfect coffee is art.

EL Viejo Café – a Single Origin masterpiece

In den letzten Jahren hat sich die Kaffeeszene in zwei Kategorien entwickelt.


A blended coffee is a composition of different beans, normally from different regions / countries. The goal is to achieve that the different beans lead to an ideal combination in terms of the resulting taste. In industrial products, they consumer is nowadays used to buy a relatively equal tasting product over a long time. Blending is the way to try to achieve that by changing the percentage of beans and other criterias in production, as it is normally that character, taste and behaviour of natural products may vary from time to time. It is the obligation of the roaster master to compensate these changes my altering the recipe smoothfully to achieve the desired constant product.

Single Origin

How the name already indicates, products of that type just contain the beans of a single region. Single-Origin coffee got more and more popular over the last years, not only as these products often fulfill the desire for individual, exclusive and uncommon flavors, aside from main streams.

Another difference in Single-Origin coffe is in the roasting. Traditional coffee blend tend to dark roasting, Single-Origin coffee often are roasted less intensively, so the beans are normally light brown and not black.

Roasting less, normaly also leads to a more develop richness of facettes and brings out the character of the beans more clear. Fruity notes of the beans can be more precisely accenturated by teh roaster, some of the notes may note be even expected in coffees.

So, like the blend, also the Single-Origin needs the extended competence of the roasting master.

The Barista

As we have described, making the perfect coffee, is a job for an artist. This artist is the barista, he is like the conductor of the coffee orchestra – the composes your highly harmonic coffee gourmet experience.

In our El Viejo Café from the Arrabica beans of Guatemala, having enormous experience, pride and talent, he secures that you get the best possible coffee from his home country – Guatemala.

For take away

El Viejo Café – also for take away – we offer our fresh roasted coffee also in different packaging size for you take away. Also in vaccum packs for easy in suitcase travel.

We are roasting weekly – enjoy our high quality coffee also at home.

We offer our coffee only as beans, as we would like to offer you the best possible quality with the best flavor.