Coffee Plantation Tour: Sipping the Best Coffee in Antigua

Antigua, Guatemala, is known for its rich history, beautiful architecture, and stunning scenery. But did you know it’s also home to some of the best coffee in the world? As a coffee lover, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to explore the coffee plantations in Antigua and learn more about the art of coffee-making.

In this blog post, I’ll take you on a tour of one of Antigua’s finest coffee plantations, where we’ll learn about the history of coffee in Guatemala, how the coffee is grown, harvested, and processed, and, of course, sample some of the best coffee in the world. Join me as we sip our way through the beautiful coffee plantations of Antigua and discover what makes this region’s coffee so unique.


The history of coffee in Guatemala is rich and fascinating. It dates back to the 18th century when Jesuit missionaries introduced coffee. The country’s high altitude, fertile soil, and ideal climate provided the perfect conditions for coffee cultivation. Over the years, coffee became one of Guatemala’s most important crops, and by the early 20th century, the country was one of the world’s leading coffee producers. Today, Guatemala is known for producing some of the best coffee in the world, with Antigua being one of the most well-known coffee-growing regions in the country. Exploring the country’s coffee plantations is a great way to learn more about this delicious beverage and its cultural significance.

Coffee Plantation Tour

My second day in Antigua started with a fantastic cup of coffee and a delicious breakfast at Finca Filadelfia Resort. Eggs, beans, toast, bacon, bananas and orange juice perfectly complemented the coffee, providing me with the energy I needed for the long day ahead.

After breakfast, I headed to the meeting point for a coffee plantation tour. Fortunately, the plantation was just behind the hotel’s reception area. Thus I didn’t have to go too far. Several cars and a group of people were already waiting, including five American women and a young couple. Once everyone arrived, we jumped into the vehicles and began driving along the paved road. During the ride, I enjoyed the beautiful views of the vast coffee plantation. I had no idea the area was so massive; I saw coffee plants everywhere.

Coffee plantation and coffee plants

Our tour started at the nursery filled with small potted plants. Our guide explained the advantages and disadvantages of Arabica and Robusta coffee, the two main types of coffee on the plantation. As the name indicates, Robusta plants are more robust and can grow up to 10 meters tall. They have thicker leaves and branches and are more resistant to diseases and pests than Arabica plants. On the other hand, Arabica plants require specific growing conditions, such as high altitude (around 600-2000 meters above sea level), a temperate climate with consistent rainfall, and well-draining soil. So, this location is ideal for Arabica plants.

Coffee plant nursery

The guide demonstrated how they combine both plants. Because of Robusta’s traits, they use Robusta’s roots to make the plants more resistant to the environment. The plant would keep the fantastic Arabica taste. Only women can do this work because their skin’s pH level is more compatible with the plants. They snap an Arabica and a Robusta plant in half. Then they attach the Robusta root to the Arabica leaves, creating a hybrid.

Next, we moved on to the mature coffee plants. Although the harvesting season wouldn’t start for another month, I could spot some berries with a lovely red colour. But most of them were still green. According to our guide, many seasonal workers come to Antigua during harvest to work on the plantation. They know what coffee cherries they should pick, otherwise, they won’t get paid if there are too many green ones.

From the nursery, we went for a drive around the plantation. I was already boiling, not used to this hot weather. I couldn’t imagine working as a coffee picker and picking coffee berries in this heat. However, I was grateful for the opportunity to learn more about coffee and appreciated all the workers’ hard work so we could enjoy a cup of coffee.

First: bath

The process

After the drive, we arrived at the processing site, where our guide showed us how coffee beans are sorted and processed. The beans go through a long and complicated process before reaching our table. The process involves several steps:

  • Washing: Coffee cherries are washed in several big tanks.
  • Skin removal: Coffee beans have two layers of protection. A machine removes the outer skin. The coffee skin doesn’t go to waste. They sent it to a distillery in Mexico, where the liqueur Kahlua is produced.
  • Drying: The beans are spread outside and enjoy the sun for 30 or more day
  • Shell removal and sorting: Another machine removes the inner shell and also sorts the beans according to size. Large and small beans are used for instant coffee. Medium-sized beans are the most high-quality ones and are used for export.
  • Packaging: At the end of the process, the coffee beans are packed into large sacks and stored in a vast warehouse.
Baskets with removed shells (left) and coffee beans (right)
Baskets with removed shells (left) and coffee beans (right)

Coffee tasting

At the end of the tour, we entered a room filled with the most fantastic aroma – freshly ground and brewed coffee. Unfortunately, we came during the off-season and couldn’t experience roasting. According to our guide, it was one of the few roasting facilities in the area. All the local coffee growers come here to have their coffee roasted.

Finally, we ended the tour with a coffee-tasting session, where we sampled some of the plantation’s finest coffee blends. The coffee was fantastic, and I couldn’t resist buying a bag to take home with me. The experience was truly unforgettable, and I gained a new appreciation for the hard work and dedication to producing a delicious cup of coffee.

Visiting a coffee plantation in Antigua was a unique and enriching experience I would highly recommend to anyone visiting Guatemala. The combination of stunning scenery, fascinating history, and delicious coffee made it a memorable experience I will never forget.

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