Guatemala Huehuetenango Highlands Presidium

Guatemala Huehuetenango Highlands Presidium


The Slow Food movement is dedicated to preserving artisanal culinary and agricultural practices throughout the world. They use the term Presidium to denote a project of special importance where local farmers face risks either to traditional products, traditional methods, or their ecosystem. This lot comes from one of these Presidia based in the highlands of Huehuetenango in Western Guatemala near the Mexican border.


Slow Foods was founded in 1989 as a response to the ever-increasing pace of life in modern society. In direct contrast to the fast foods permeating the world, Slow Foods aims to celebrate traditional foods and techniques that are healthy, local, seasonal, and environmentally sound, respecting the value of the labor that goes into food from the farm to the table.


They identified the highlands of Huehuetenango as a candidate for establishing a Presidium, as it is particularly suited for the production of exceptional coffees while at the same time being biologically at risk. In much of Huehuetenango coffee exists as a monoculture, with little else being grown. This puts both the environment and the farmers at risk just single factor can wipe out much of the areas plant life and the farmer’s entire livelihood.


This Presidium was founded in 2002, centered on the towns of La Libertad and Todos Santos. Since that time the organization has grown to include over 150 small-scale coffee producers from four different co-operatives, all growing coffee between 1500 and 2000 meters above sea level. The producers have received technical and monetary assistance to grow the traditional Bourbon, Caturra, Typica, and Pache types of Arabica coffee that have been supplanted by modern hybrids throughout much of the rest of the region. This assistance has served to improve the overall quality of the coffees produced in the area through agronomy and building small coffee washing stations throughout the cooperatives. Additionally the Presidium has helped local farmers to plant other crops like anise and hot peppers, diversifying the landscape and growing their incomes.


Water Avenue Coffee purchased this lot from Café Imports of Minneapolis, MN who imported it into the United States. It is representative of the traditional varieties of Arabica grown by these farmers (Caturra, Bourbon, Typica, Pache) and traditional wet processing using natural fermentation and sun drying on patios. The cup is very well balanced with notes of orange zest, caramel, and a nutty aftertaste, featuring a bright citrus acidity. Try this as a drip or french press brew for a taste of how great traditionally grown Central American coffees can be.  Look for this offering in select Portland area grocery stores, our cafe, our online shop, and with our wholesale partners.