Over the next few weeks, I’ll be reviewing and discussing some of my favourite Starbucks whole bean offerings. This first instalment discusses Guatemala Antigua, a Latin American whole bean coffee.
Guatemala Antigua may be my favourite whole bean coffee from Starbucks. The first time I tried it was last year when my dad brought a bag of it home. Just like any true Italian coffee-loving family, we have a state-of-the-art Saeco espresso machine right next to our stove. Our machine is probably the most prized appliance in our house. It’s easy to use and really brings out the best in any whole bean coffee.
So my dad cracked the bag and poured a pound of beans into the bean reservoir. We added 3 cups of distilled water to the machine and promptly made a doppio espresso. It was magical. The coffee was medium bodied, had a subtle cocoa middle and ended with a spicy finish. My dad and I were hooked. We went through that bag in just a few days and then went right back to Starbucks for another bag.
Now, in paying tribute to my initial experience with Guatemala Antigua, I’ve done some research to discover why it’s such a delicious coffee.
Just like all Latin American coffees, Guatemala Antigua is a ‘washed’ bean. Washing the coffee beans removes their protective honey and leaves the bean with a crisp, refreshing acidity. Whether you like Latin American coffee or not, you can’t argue that the washing process gives the bean a distinct and palate-cleansing acidity.
This bean is grown in Antigua Guatemala, a city in the central highlands of Guatemala. There are three volcanoes located on the outskirts of this region. The three volcanoes are: Volcán de Agua or “Volcano of Water”, Acatenango and Volcán de Fuego or “Volcano of Fire”.
These three volcanoes are said to have much influence on the coffee itself. They infuse the soil in this region with ash, which enriches the bean plants and gives Guatemala Antigua its distinctive flavour. But even more than the nutrient rich soil, the Antigua Guatemala region is perfect for producing coffee. It receives an abundance of rain, its altitude is above 4600 feet and its humidity level is 65%. Also, the farmers are knowledgeable and passionate about their beans. What’s left is a delicious whole bean offering that features the flavours of cocoa, smoke, spice and flowers.
The best pairing for this coffee is caramel and fruit. But for me, the best way to enjoy it is in a cup, alone.