Guatemala, when you think of Guatemala you probably think of exotic tropical jungle and equatorial weather and ancient, ancient tribes. You’d be right. Guatemala is the home of two of the best raw ingredients the western world uses – coffee and chocolate… BUT before we get onto that stuff, lets subvert you into a new way of thinking about Guatemala first.
Rebecca Lane. She is quite the anomaly in Guatemala, first of all she’s a rapper. Which is almost unheard of in Guatemala, but in a country where violence against women is incredibly high she uses her platform to discuss and change the climate of Guatemalan society and the attitudes towards people like her, understanding that her native country is indeed beautiful but has a long way to go to be considered modern, perhaps she’s giving Guatemala an opportunity to move out of the old vision and into the new world.
That being said. Its not all violence and societal collapse.
By now we are sure all of your favourite cafes have recycled the same old tired spiel about coffee, caffeine and its derivatives, but Guatemala does have some stonkingly good coffees, currently going through a new period of developing how they process the green beans. As consumers become more and more accustomed to a natural and honey processed flavour profile, it has been important for Guatemalan coffee producers to move with the flow and as they have more rainfall than most other coffee producers – the temperature fluctuates meaning that the development of those profiles is more ‘at the whim of the gods’. These days producers are looking at using greenhouse raised beds with better regulated temperatures to ensure a more uniform fermentation process on the mucilage.
Moving onwards, we have the home of chocolate.
Originally discovered by the ancient Olmecs it was in fact the Mayans who first documented the use of ‘Cacao’. The ancient Mayans actually used it as a currency, In fact the original ‘Hot Chocolate’ was documented as a wellness latte J and consisted of grounded down cocoa beans, cornmeal, chilli and fermented cacao pulp.
Like we mentioned earlier, Guatemala is a stunning tropic of beauty and although for the average westerner it could be incredibly dangerous to head out into the stunning jungles (I can't get a 5g signal here) places like Semuc Champey are glorious hidden pools of turquoise water atop a natural limestone bridge smack bang in the middle of greenery.
If you wanted however to feel closer to your ancient brothers and sisters, you could head over to the tropical rainforest in the preten province to visit the ancient city, some of Tikals architecture dates back to 4BC, so soak it in and feel blessed.