What’s Brewing: Guatemala El Zapote

I have generally always enjoyed coffees from Guatemala, with most having a solid flavour profile, yet enough subtlety to separate one farm from its neighbours – here I emphasise variety – not my ability to name the various farms by taste of course!

The Region

Information courtesy Wikipedia

Acatenango is a stratovolcano1 in Guatemala, close to the city of Antigua, in the central highlands of Guatemala. The volcano has two peaks, Pico Mayor (Highest Peak) and Yepocapa (3,880 m) which is also known as Tres Hermanas (Three Sisters). Acatenango is joined with Volcán de Fuego and collectively the volcano complex is known as La Horqueta.

Volcano de Fuego in the Acatenango region in Guatemala. Photo courtesy Javier Ruata.

Volcano de Fuego in the Acatenango region in Guatemala. Photo courtesy Javier Ruata.

Fair enough to call it a volcanic region I’d say!

The Coffee

Information Courtesy Ministry Grounds

  • Guatemala El Zapote
  • Region/Town: Acatenango
  • Altitude: 1200-1950 meters
  • Area: quarter of one hectare
  • Varietal: Yellow Bourbon
  • Processing: Wet processed; 100% sun-dried
  • Harvest time: January/February
  • Producer: Julio Melendez
  • Tasting notes: classic and beautifully balanced; notes of lemon, melon and stone fruits

The Brew

Having roasted for both espresso and filter, I was able to enjoy the El Zapote across a wide range of brew methods.

As espresso, it produced a fresh, bright cup, demonstrating a little citrus tang, along with notes of honey and chocolate. With milk, it kicked off my mornings really well, with similar flavours working well, however I’d say even a little better when blended with a some Brazil Fazenda Aurea – also roasted on the same day. This blend, containing about 30% of the Brazil, added a little more depth, and brought the flavour through the milk just that little bit more.

The filter roast provided a very clean, crisp and bright cup when brewed with the Hario V60. The body and acidity nicely balanced, with refreshing notes of citrus. Also perfect in an iced pour over, with summer not really wanting to let go just yet here in Brisbane.

The Finish

Whenever I am browsing the offerings from Ministry Grounds, rarely do I overlook the Central America section, with Guatemala always high on my list. These coffees always seem to work really well in blends, yet also stand happily on their own – the El Zapote is another to add to the list.

Unfortunately at the time of writing this coffee is now out of stock, however was purchased from Ministry Grounds for $AU19.55 per kilogram (green).


  1. A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a conical volcano built up by many layers (strata) of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash.


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