Huehuetenango (often called ‘Huehue’) is located in the west of Guatemala, on the border with Mexico, and trade across the border thrives. Huehuetenango was the ancient centre of the Mam people, and their capital Zaculeu is preserved in the city; Popti speakers can also be found here. After defeating the Mam at Zaculeu, Spanish invaders forced many indigenous people to work in mines and on plantations in this region.
Huehue is very remote, and the roads in the region can be difficult; before flights from the city, reaching farms in this area used to take 8-10 hours of bumpy driving in the high mountains. But the altitude of this region, combined with the hot, dry winds that blow over from Mexico’s Tehuantepec Plain, create excellent conditions for quality coffee here. Because of the altitudes and remoteness of the region, most farmers process their coffee at home rather than at a central wet mill.
Manuela Carmela Perez Domingo
Manuela and her family do two pickings per year while focusing on picking only well-matured red cherries. They sort the beans with screens to ensure excellent quality after de-pulping. The coffee then goes through fermentation for about 24 hours to ensure smooth separation of the mucilage. After washing, the coffee is placed on the patio for 6 hours a day, for about 6 days, until it is fully dried.
What does the future hold?
Manuela plans to continue focusing on high-quality coffee in order to ensure that the farm stays profitable.
“Processing high-quality coffee is new for us, but we are learning bit by bit,” says Manuela