Guatemalan Ironies: Coffee

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As many of you know, Guatemala is among the world’s best producers of fine coffee.

The irony is that if you live in Guatemal City and the suburbs (very few exceptions) and you are craving a really good cup of coffee, your options are almost none. A lot of time you end up having to have this!
Not much known too is chocolate. There are great chocolates manufactured in Guatemala. But the same goes for a cup of hot chocolate. Lots of times your only option is a hot cocoa powder drink from a fast food joint.
The disappointing part is that most Guatemalans crave this crap because they haven’t have contact with a really good cup of coffee or chocolate.
This is a good coffe my companion tells me.
Yeah, you say that because you have never have quality and you’ve become used to mediocrity!, I responded.

© 2014, Eli Orozco. All rights reserved.

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  • What you say is true Elí, but a bit harsh. Mellow up man! 😉

    • Elí Orozco

      Harsh!?
      These are the same poeple I went to La Antigua Guatemala with, no more than three months ago. They were craving coffee and of course I suggested a couple of places and they said: Mejor vamos a McDonald’s, esta aqui cerquita.
      Yes, they said that. So I guess the harsh treatment is well deserved…

  • NYChapin

    Not true ! how about all the Baristas, Cafetal and Saul Mendez places? I never have a problem finding one anywhere I go.
    “dime con quien andas y te dire que cafe tomas “

    • Elí Orozco

      Yes NYChapin. We have those options, and in fact, there are three Starbucks in Guatemala. Most of these fine coffee shops are located on luxurious zones, shopping malls or neighborhoods. and they are not conveniently located for the masses living in the middle class suburbs.

      • Elí Orozco

        In fact, if I want a fine coffee, closest place is 25 minutes drive if there is no traffic. Option 2 is to drive 40 minutes to La Antigua Guatemala.

      • I told Elí that he just lives in the wrong part of Guatemala. He needs to get an apartment in Cayalá or surrounding neighbourhoods and a house in La Antigua Guatemala and a chalet in Atitlán. Decisions, decisions. 😉

        • Elí Orozco

          Oh that’s it! I want a good cup of coffee and a nice cigar! I’m heading yo La Antigua right now. I’ll be there in an hout Rudy.

  • willycamps

    Simple but real. The mediocre has sold his taste for big houses

    • Elí Orozco

      You have summarized it perfectly.

  • NYChapin

    I hate to be anal about this, but you did say ” Guatemala city” and “very few” and I simply offered information to the contrary. But let’s continue “platicando” about this subject, which I find very interesting and I’m glad that you focused on, as I always find myself asking the same question ( the saying ” en casa de herrero cuchillo de palo” comes to mind) You focus on the ” Guatemalteco” craving and choosing mediocre coffee, due to a lack of availability and “contact” to the good one. Well, my question is why? but rather than put the blame on individuals, examine the history of coffee in Guatemala ” you can borrow a great book from Rudy” and the consequences of the political and economic policies that have shaped the coffee industry in Guate. Why is it that the coffee “baron” has a heliport in his finca and the worker who picks the best coffee in the world has to drink la shinga?

    Eli, you have a great opportunity to learn more about this during your travels in Guate. I am sure you can find a wealth of information that you can share with us. I share with you a similar situation. Just last week, I visited a small caribbean island, where the fisherman did not go out to catch fresh fish in the am, because most of the tourist hotels on the island are close for the season and the demand is low. We ended up buying a frozen fish ! what the F$$$K !

    • Elí Orozco

      Hello NYChapin, always nice to read from you.
      You reminded me of something a friend of mine who lived in Solola, once told me: Los que tapiscan el cafe no toman cafe, lo que ellos toman es “agua de cafe” para que les de energia durante el trabajo. Ellos nunca han probado el cafe como lo toman en las cafeterias.

      Agua de Cafe would be like a heavily diluted coffee.
      I’m sure there are lots of cultural factors, as well as economics. The average Guatemala can not afford a cup of fine coffee, and most of the fine coffee shops are situated in affluent areas of the city. As Rudy suggested; if Eli lived in Cayala, Eli wouldn’t have trouble finding Starbucks, El Cafetalito, Cafe Saul, Barista or & Cafe*.
      And another of the economic factors is that most of Guatemala’s fine coffee is exported: if I’m not wrong, 70% of one of Antigua’s best coffee is exported to Japan, another significant percentage is sent to Europe. One can wonder who gets the rest in Guatemala (?).

      And one cultural aspect I’ve come to despise is that Guatemalans love foreign names and brands. If it comes from the States, must be good. Right?
      Well, now we have Dunkin Donuts, and the time I drove by, the parking lot was almost full.