Coffee produced in the Huehuetenango highland region sets itself apart from the typical Guatemalan taste profile. The Cuchumatanes Mountains that define Huehuetenango’s topography have a limestone soil, with a relatively high soil pH. Coffea arabica can grow in a wide range of acidic soils from acidic (pH4) to neutral (pH7).
This is partly explained by the solubility of nitrogen, one of coffee’s most important macronutrients, which is most soluble in soils with pH from 4 to 8. Soil acidity determines the solubility of nutrients. They must remain soluble long enough to travel all the way down the soil to the roots of the plants. It also affects the decomposition of mineral rock into elements that the plants can use. The coffee-growing altitude in Huehuetenango is the highest in the country. Coffee can grow here up to 2000 meters without frost damage, thanks to the warm winds blowing off the Mexican plains. The coffee harvest takes place from January to April. Varieties in the region are Caturra, Catuai, and Bourbon.