Third Wave Coffee In Central America

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San Francisco? Soho? Try Guatemala City, inside El Injerto, a coffee shop. Guatemala is home to an expanding coffee scene. Credit Daniele Volpe for The New York Times

Thanks to Elisabeth Malkin for her visit to Guatemala on behalf of the coffee lovers who read the New York Times:

The Hot New Thing in Guatemala, Land of Coffee? It’s Coffee

GUATEMALA CITY — In the narrative spun around specialty coffee, there are two kinds of places: those where people cultivate the beans and those where people consume the end result.

On one side, the sturdy farmer from somewhere in Latin America or Africa plucks red coffee cherries against a tapestry of emerald plants. On the other, men and women in cozy cafes sip from fragrant cups of coffee identified by their exotic origins — Guatemala, for example, a small country of cloud forests and glistening mountain lakes where varied microclimates engender countless coffee varieties.

But the picture is shifting. Guatemala is no longer just exporting coffee. It is also home to an expanding community of coffee shops where baristas point out the peach and raisin notes in the daily special and tasting classes (“cupping,” to the initiated) are scheduled each Saturday.

“The community will grow,” predicted Raúl Rodas, the 2012 world barista champion, who has his own coffee shop and distributor, Paradigma, in the city’s trendy Zone 4.

“We need more producers, more consumers, more coffee houses,” Mr. Rodas said over coffee at a competitor, El Injerto, where he greeted the baristas by name and explained how to identify the hint of a cocoa powder flavor with the finish of each sip.

The phenomenon of “third wave” coffee, with its intense focus on every step of the coffee chain — from identifying the farms that produce the best quality to roasting the beans and educating consumers — has begun to spread across the coffee-producing countries of Latin America. But the fervor of Guatemala’s scene may top them all – even though the pool of potential consumers is very much smaller than in Mexico City or Bogotá…

Read the whole article here.

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