Guatemala has 4 main coffee growing regions (and 8 total), and the coffee beans are typically named after their particular region: Antigua, Coban, San Marcos, and Huehuetenango. Some Guatemala coffees are similar to Kona coffee beans in that they grow in volcano-rich soil that can have very rugged terrain.
All 4 regions are similar in that they have pretty high elevations (4500+ feet is where they start to grow), and typically result in medium to full bodied coffees.
Of the 4 regions, Antigua tends to be best known for its coffees.
The Antigua flavors from the coffee flavor wheel tend to be in the spice, floral, roasted, and occasionally cocoa sections. The Antigua region is protected in a basic in the mountains, influencing its flavors and giving it a slightly dryer and more powerful kick.
The coffees from Coban tend to be more gentle in flavor, with an otherwise full body, and rounded profile. Being a humid and subtropical region lends it to less stark and contrasting flavors. Its light acidity and light aromas makes it more palatable for some, but less distinct for others.
The wetter weather of the Coban region. makes it difficult to transport and easier to spoil, aside from the flavor differences.
Coffees from Coban and Huehuetenango tend to be from smaller farms.
The Huehuetenango region coffees are one of the main non-volcanic coffees of Guatemala, and come from a very high and dry area, in terms of coffee farm locations.
Huehuetenango coffees are known for a distinctly sweet acidity to them, with fruity notes of citrus, strawberry, and/or plum, and occasional cocoa.
San Marcos coffees tend to flower first due to a slightly earlier rainy season. This rainy season creates earlier coffees, and also makes for quite the unique preparation process. As we’ve discussed before, farmers tend to either sundry or mechanically dry, but San Marcos “pre-dries” the coffee beans in the sun before mechanically drying them.