Perhaps it’s ironic to say that there are sleeper coffees, but in this season of flashy fruity cups, limited-release microlots, and big-name arrivals, it’s easy to overlook the quieter fresh-crop coffees that can be versatile and delicious while also being accessible—both in terms of their cup quality and characteristics, as well as their price.
While conventional Guatemalan coffees might not stand out in animated 3-D on an offerings sheet, they are incredibly valuable coffees in the roaster, in the hopper, and in the cup. The diverse regional profiles of Guatemalan coffee lend themselves perfectly to single-origin applications: Huehuetenango’s malic acidity and rich sweetness turns into a caramel apple when pulled as espresso, while Atitlan’s cocoa and cinnamon fills a filter brew with warm aromatics, brightened by just a kind of sprightly citric acid.
For a roaster, these coffees are also the best of both worlds: They not only stand up on their own, they also blend beautifully. A clean, crisp washed Huehuetenango blended with a Natural Ethiopian creates a cup with structured layers of jammy fruit, browned sugars, and zesty acids. Or use the creamy chocolate and sweet nuttiness of Atitlan to tone down a wild and wooly Kenyan for an easy-drinking brew that still sparkles with personality.
Don’t sleep on these coffees—on their own or as part of a team, here are some of the fresh-crop Guatemalans that we just know will be wonderful to wake up to.
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