It is a well-known and undeniable fact that many of the world’s best coffees are produced in Latin America. As we wanted to learn more about coffee plantation and production, we decided to visit Finca Filadelfia, only a short drive from Antigua Guatemala. Our bus was not like a classical bus but a military green Unimog, that picked us up in the center of Antigua and brought us directly to the coffee fields of the Finca, where we learned everything about the story of coffee from the seed to the black gold in the cups all over the world. One special thing about Guatemalan coffee is that it grows on volcanic soil that accommodates lots of pests and bugs. That is the reason why it is necessary to cross Arabica with Robusta plants there. Otherwise, it would be an inevitable necessity to use pesticides or, even worse, risk the valuable Arabica coffee plants being munched by bugs and worms while only the bitter Robusta plants would be left behind. In order to make sure that this does not happen, the roots of Guatemalan coffee are bitter Robusta roots while the plant itself is sweet Arabica.
The ripe, dark-red fruit is harvested by hand at Finca Filadelfia. That is actually a tough job because not all the fruit is ripe at the same time. That is why the coffee pickers go through the plantation the whole day to look for ripe fruit. That is how they pick 50 kilograms of fruit each day!
At the end of the tour, we tried the delicious coffee of Finca Filadelfia – a real black gold!
As 34 active volcanos are spread all over Guatemala, we just had no other choice than ascending at least one of them. Pacaya, one of the most active in the world, only 90 minutes away from Antigua was the one we decided to conquer. Because of its activity, we were not able to hike up to the crater at 2.500 metres altitude. The last time it erupted was in 2010 – fortunately nobody got hurt. The ashes that was tossed out of the volcano during the explosion even reached Guatemala City, which is located 23 kilometers away. The landscape is characterized by volcanic rock and really beautiful.
Fortunately, our guide was a little bit lazy, so our group took a route that was rather easy to hike. It was a lot of fun to slide down the volcanic debris on our way down. A great hike that we highly recommend to anybody who ever makes it to the area.