The coffee region of Antigua is spread across a valley surrounded by three volcanoes, Agua (Water), Acatenango, and Fuego (Fire). The coffee grown in Antigua is enriched by the volcanic soil and tends to hold moisture well. The main shade tree used in Antigua is the gravilea, which helps protect the coffee from frost.
The main town in the region is also called Antigua. It is a cultural centre for tourism, as it is the ancient capital of both the Mayans and the country of Guatemala. The increase in tourism has attracted a lot of locals and foreigners to live in the town. The demographic pressures create a demand for property in the region, and as such, farmers are enticed with lucrative property offers to sell their land. The key to keeping coffee in the region is to ensure farmers are being paid fairly for their crop.
The Antigua region is very special, it’s where the Dalton Family’s coffee story began. Manuel Matheu pioneered Guatemalan coffee with his nephew in 1864. The Dalton family honours its coffee growing heritage – the farm is currently being operated by the 5th and 6th generations. Coffee represents 215 hectares of the farm. Bosques de San Francisco is a quarter of the original Dalton family farm, originally called Finca Filadelfia.
The original Finca Filadelfia was first coffee farm in Antigua. It was split into four unique farms upon the passing of the third generation of the Dalton family.
Like most farms in Guatemala, Finca Filadelfia originally harvested cochineal, transitioning to coffee amidst a country-wide recession.
Manuel Matheu initially borrowed the land, where he planted coffee plants in 1864. After his first harvest, he went to London to sell his crop where he achieved great success. He was then commissioned by the President of Guatemala to show small farmers how to grow coffee.
Thus the Antigua coffee growing region was born. Eventually, Manuel’s son purchased what is now Finca Filadelfia. Their passion for coffee has been passed down now for 6 generations. The farm won its first two Cup of Excellence in 2001 and 2002 under the guidance of Elisa Dalton!