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CBG 1.09 Recap and Glossary

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Recap

  • Coffee growing in Guatemala has a brutal history, beginning with indigenous Mayan peoples being driven from their lands and then being forced to work as labourers.
  • Guatemala’s first democratic government instituted highly successful land reforms aimed at reversing this injustice. However, this government was overthrown in a CIA-backed coup.
  • A 36-year civil war ensued, resulting in the deaths of 200,000 citizens and displacing as much as half of the rural population. The war ended in 1996 but stark inequality and poverty remain.
  • The 2001 fall in coffee prices caused larger plantations to move away from coffee farming, and coffee farming in Guatemala is now dominated by smallholder farmers.
  • The Guatemalan coffee producer’s organisation, Anacafé, was one of the first to promote individual regions of the country as distinct origins.
  • Of the 8 regions recognised by Anacafé, Antigua was historically renowned for producing the best coffee in the country, but more recently Acatenango and Huehuetenango have also developed reputations for very high quality.

 

New Words

Endemic Species A species of plant or animal that exists only in a certain geographic region. Usually the region is isolated in some way or has unique geographical features that prevent the species spreading. Endemic species are vulnerable to habitat loss and are at high risk of extinction.

Coyote An intermediary that buys coffee directly from farms, usually in the form of cherry, and sells it on to be processed and exported. Coyotes often also provide credit terms to farmers, in exchange for a fixed price for the crop. The word ‘coyote’ has negative connotations and is linked to exploitative practices, especially in remote growing regions where farmers have limited options for processing or selling their crop.

 

Back to: The Coffee Buyer’s Guide to Guatemala > Growing Regions

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