Barista Coffee Culture in Antigua Guatemala

Rudy Giron: Antigua Guatemala &emdash; Coffee Culture in Antigua Guatemala

Okay, there are three different kinds of venues where to get coffee in Antigua Guatemala.

The first coffee venue type, you order a cup of coffee and you are served a cup of coffee; no questions asked.

The second coffee venue type, there is menu of all the different kinds of coffee one can order from Americano, to Mocha to Latte, etc. At this coffee venue type, one has to decide what kind of coffee experience one is looking for.

The third coffee venue type is based on a passionate barista who is not looking to give a consistent cup of coffee, rather the best cup of coffee she can prepare for the week based on the coffee selection of the week.

At this kind of barista coffee shop, one time I ordered a cup of coffee and I was asked all kinds of questions about it. What kind of questions, I can hear you asking. Well, it went sort of like this:

Barista: From what coffee plantation would you like your cup of coffee.
Me: I don’t know, from what coffee plantations you have coffee.
Barista: This week I have coffee from seven different coffee plantation, each from a different coffee region in Guatemala, such as Atitlán, Huehuetenango, Cobán , Antigua Guatemala, etc.
Me: Let’s try something from a coffee plantation from Huehuetenango.
Barista: Do you want your coffee from the branch or from the trunk of the coffee bush?
Me: I don’t know, what’s the difference.
Barista: Well, on the branch receives more sunlight so it has a fruiter flavour.
Me: Okay, let me have a cup of coffee from the branch.
Barista: What kind of roast would you like for your coffee?
Me: I don’t know, what options you have.
Barista: Light, medium and dark roasts. Then he explains the differences in flavour for each type of roast.
Me: Good. Let me have a medium roast.
Barista: What method would you like me to use in for the brewing of your cup of coffee.
Me: I don’t know, what are the options.
Barista: I have mocha press, French press, Aerobie press, Chemex drip, Hario V60 drip, cheese cloth drip, and the espresso machine.
Me: Okay, let me try the Chemex coffeemaker.
Barista: Good, give about 5 minutes and I will have your cup of coffee ready.

At this point I saw the barista pulled out a digital scale to weight the exact amount of coffee, an electronic timer and a thermometer. The coffee was prepared with water at a specific temperature and timed to the second. It was one of the best cups of coffee I had ever had.

© 2015, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • Anne Gerhardt

    Wow! I want to visit that barista next time I’m in Antigua! Where is it, Rudy? …spill the beans! (Yes, I know…bad pun…. 🙂

  • Mercutio57

    “Would you like it served to you in a jewel-encrusted golden cup during your complementary mani pedi and massage..?”

  • NYChapin

    Where is the barista from, Brooklyn? ja ja ja

    I would love to “stump” him by asking for a coffee from a Guatemalan owned finca that pays fair wages to its employees and uses no child labor. Grown in the shade of 3 volcanos, washed with water from lake Atitlan and patio dried.The chemex has to be blown glass from Oaxaca.

    • Mercutio57

      Yeah, fertilized with artisinal manure from organically fed cows…

      • NYChapin

        artisinal manure ! ja ja that’s a new one to me. There is plenty of the old brooklyn to go around, but we lose it every week to new condos and “salvaged wood” and “recycled tin ceilings” coffee shops. Whereabouts are you now? please don’t say Portland ! he he

        • Mercutio57

          Para nada. NY.

  • Eric

    This is a great story, Rudy. I had a different type of conversation years ago, when i stayed at a posada on the shores of Lago Atitlan, which was basically the waiter pouring coffee from a percolator, and telling me it was grown “around here”, roasted in a steel drum turned by hand out back the restaurant. Was (and still is) the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had, and a big part of the reason I can’t spend my entire trips to Guatelinda in La Antigua…. 🙂