Gourmet Coffee Tour in San Juan Lake Atitlán

June 10, 2013 | By | 8 Replies More
Cafe Maduro

Cafe Maduro

When tourists visit the town of San Juan in Lake Atitlán Guatemala they may only go for the women’s weaving cooperatives, but there’s a hidden gem worth visiting… an organic coffee farm. Guatemala is know for gourmet coffee so I wanted to taste it right at the source. If you drink coffee to start your day, you might find it interesting to learn about how its produced.

When I visited San Juan I toured La Voz coffee cooperative. It was the start of rainy season so I didn’t see many people working, but it was still worth a visit. Most of the harvesting is done November through January and ends in February or March.

La Voz has been around since 1979 and was founded by 19 people with only 150 Quetzals which is about $20 USD. Over the years, it has grown to over a 100 members whom all own a piece of the land on which they farm. The cooperative provides livelihood for residents of San Juan, for the kids of the farmers, and others around the lake.

What makes La Voz’s coffee special is that its organic, under shade, and high altitude coffee. That means no fertilizer and it’s rich and citrusy in flavor. And, it’s fair trade.

Here are a few pics from my coffee tour.

Cooperativa La Voz

Cooperativa La Voz Que Clama En El Desierto

Café verde

Café verde

Cooperativa La Voz grows arabica coffee.

Coffee fertilizer

Coffee fertilizer

Banana leaves shade coffee

Banana leaves shade coffee

Coffee bean sorter

Coffee bean sorter

Depulper

This depulper removes the skin off the coffee beans

Coffee bean separator

Coffee bean separator

Depending on the weight of the beans, the higher grade coffee will float to the bottom and lower grade floats stays on top. First class beans are used for export and locals consume second class.

Coffee beans

Coffee beans

This is what the beans look like before they are roasted.

Coffee bean roaster

Coffee bean roaster

Coffee tour garden

Coffee tour tasting area and museum

After touring the plantation, I got to sample the goods in the coffee shop and check out the tiny museum.

Nariz del Indio

Nariz del Indio – You can see the nose of an Indian on San Juan Volcano from the plantation

Taking a tour of La Voz was one of the highlights visiting San Juan. The staff was warm and friendly. My tour guide was excited and passionate about explaining the steps from how coffee is grown to when the taste is experienced in cup. He only spoke Spanish and since I’m learning, I thought it was the perfect for me to improve my vocabulary. There are English speaking guides too. I enjoyed learning about the various coffee plant species, farming techniques, and coffee culture. Plus, sampling a delicious cappuccino and cup of coffee after the tour topped it off. Now I can appreciate coffee more since I have a better understanding of how its processed. I wish I brought an ivy with me to fuel my addiction!

Cooperativa La Voz Que Clama En El Desierto
00 Calle 1-44 Zona 1
San Juan la Laguna, Guatemala
Tel: + (502) 4416 – 3196
Tours available in English and Spanish.
Duration: 2 hours
How to get here: From Panajachel take a boat (lancha) to San Juan. If you’re in San Pedro, take a tuk tuk to San Juan.

Disclosure: I was invited on the coffee tour, but these opinions expressed are my own. While at La Voz, I didn’t overdose on caffeine.

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: Things to do

Comments (8)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. I think it is really good to know where the stuff we consume actually comes from. I went to a salt and pepper farm in Cambodia once and had no idea how much effort goes into it.
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted…3 quirky things to do in BerlinMy Profile

  2. Andrew says:

    We did a tour of a small coffee plantation on our cycling tour in Bali, it was interesting how they made the Luwak coffee, although we didn’t try that one. They had plenty of teas though which we were able to try, great for us Brits! It’s really good to see where things come from and how they are made too.
    Andrew recently posted…Places to See and Things to do in BaliMy Profile

    • Mig says:

      Learning about the process to consumption is interesting. I’d like to see how other coffee plantations vary around Africa and Asia. I felt that coming to Costa Rica, I didn’t have a need to see another plantation in Central America plus it’s a bit pricier for a coffee plantation tour here. Cheers to tea!

  3. The place is worth visiting especially to coffee enthusiasts. It can also be a good place to have a little knowledge about coffee and how it is being processed.

  4. As a coffee lover, I want to go on a coffee tour too..:)
    Christopher James recently posted…Information on The Trinity CodeMy Profile

  5. Neal says:

    We will be staying on Lake Atitlan in August. I know that this will not be coffee season. Will there be coffee available for us to buy?

    • Mig says:

      Hi. I’m not sure, but I do remember seeing coffee packaged up when I was there. I’ll reach out to the Mayan lady who works there and get back to you. If you don’t hear back from me before your trip, please follow up.

Speak Your Mind

CommentLuv badge