Clear Lake Coffee Roasters: Explorer & History Series - Blue Lake Elevation: Brewing Perfection with Guatemala's Unique Coffee Gem - Jan 5, 2024

Blue Lake Elevation: Brewing Perfection with Guatemala's Unique Coffee Gem

Nestled among the lush landscapes of Guatemala, where sprawling mountains meet pristine lakes, a coffee treasure awaits: the Blue Lake Coffee. In this blog post, we invite you to embark on a sensory journey through the high-altitude regions of Guatemala, exploring the unique qualities that make Blue Lake Coffee a true gem in the world of specialty coffees. From its breathtaking origins to the meticulous cultivation and processing, join us as we unravel the story behind this exceptional Guatemalan coffee that captivates with every sip.

Guatemala's Coffee Wonderland:

Guatemala, often referred to as the "land of eternal spring," is celebrated for its ideal coffee-growing conditions. The combination of volcanic soil, high altitudes, and distinct microclimates creates an environment that is tailor-made for cultivating exceptional coffee beans. Among the various coffee regions in Guatemala, the Blue Lake stands out as a beacon of quality and distinction.

Altitude Elevation: The Secret Ingredient:

Blue Lake Coffee owes much of its distinctive character to the high-altitude regions where it is cultivated. Grown at elevations ranging from 1,500 to 1,800 meters above sea level, the coffee plants benefit from the slower maturation process at these heights. This gradual ripening imparts a complexity of flavors that is characteristic of the finest specialty coffees.

Flavor Profile: A Symphony of Notes:

What sets Blue Lake Coffee apart is its well-balanced flavor profile. A harmonious symphony of notes ranging from fruity undertones to a rich chocolatey body, this coffee captivates the palate with every sip. The high-altitude cultivation enhances the beans' acidity, offering a bright and lively experience that coffee enthusiasts savor.

Meticulous Cultivation Practices:

The journey of Blue Lake Coffee from farm to cup is marked by meticulous cultivation practices. Guatemalan farmers employ traditional methods coupled with modern techniques to ensure the highest quality beans. From handpicking only the ripest cherries to sun-drying the beans with precision, every step of the process reflects the commitment to excellence.

Sustainable and Ethical Sourcing:

Beyond its exquisite taste, Blue Lake Coffee is a symbol of Guatemala's dedication to sustainable and ethical coffee production. Many coffee farms in the region prioritize environmental conservation, fair labor practices, and community development. By choosing Blue Lake Coffee, consumers are not only indulging in a superior coffee experience but also supporting initiatives that contribute to the well-being of the local communities.

Brewing the Blue Lake Experience at Home:

For those eager to bring the essence of Blue Lake Coffee into their homes, exploring various brewing methods enhances the experience. Whether through a pour-over, French press, or espresso machine, the distinct flavors of Blue Lake Coffee can be appreciated in the comfort of your own kitchen, creating a daily ritual that transports you to the serene landscapes of Guatemala.

As we savor the exceptional qualities of Blue Lake Coffee, we find ourselves transported to the enchanting high-altitude regions of Guatemala. From the fertile soils to the careful hands that cultivate each bean, this coffee is a testament to the artistry and dedication of the Guatemalan coffee industry. So, let's raise our cups to Blue Lake Coffee, a jewel among the world's coffees, and savor the rich flavors that encapsulate the essence of Guatemala's coffee wonderland.

Blue Lake Coffee from Guatemala

There are volcanic eruptions and there are volcanic eruptions. Sometimes a volcano just blows its top. And sometimes the eruption is so catastrophic that most of a volcanoes’ mountain home vanishes completely, leaving a crater in its place. This crater is called a “caldera,” which is Spanish for “cauldron” (because, presumably, so much of the volcanic “ring of fire” that encircles the Pacific Ocean is located in Spanish speaking regions and also, many calderas become lakes and the Latin root for caldera means hot bath, so there’s that).

Around 90 miles southeast of Guatemala City, this type of catastrophic eruption happened twice over 20,000 years ago. Two separate volcanoes, next door neighbors, erupted into oblivion and became calderas. The eruptions occurred 4,000 years apart—almost simultaneous in geological time—forming a “double caldera” (aka a twin caldera), the eastern small caldera and the western large caldera. The two calderas eventually became a single lake, Laguna de Ayarza. The small caldera is much shallower because the volcano that used to be there erupted before its neighbor, so when volcano number two went kablooey a lot of the debris ended up inside the hole that was once volcano number one.  

As unlucky as these eruptions might have been for the local animals—and maybe humans too, opinions vary so consult your family archeologist—it was good luck for the coffee that would one day be planted in the region, and good luck for Covoya, which today operates a cherry mill nearby.

Geologists estimate that the twin volcanos were 3,000 feet taller than the current calderas, which sit at 4,600 feet, just over 1,400 meters. This altitude, combined with relatively youthful and nutrient rich volcanic soil, provides excellent conditions for growing coffee.  

The only thing missing is a fully equipped mill that is nimble enough to process coffee any which way we want throughout the harvest season. Oh wait, we have one of those!


The Ayarza Cherry Mill processes a wide variety of coffee qualities during harvest season, but only high grown coffees harvested in the late winter and early spring can earn the “Blue Ayarza” label, a nod to the nickname locals have given to the twin caldera lake. Because the lake is relatively deep (up to 755 feet in places and some claim the true depth remains a mystery), longer wavelength light, like blue, is reflected back to the surface. Lake Ayarza is also unsurprisingly rich in minerals and algae. The result is strikingly blue water, so locals call it Lake Azul, Blue Lake.

More than 1,000 coffee growers surrounding the “Blue Lake,” their farms as high as 1,900 meters, bring cherry to the Ayarza Mill. Although most coffee farmers in the volcanic highlands of Santa Rosa are smallholders, some are smaller than others, so cherry can arrive by the truckload or just a few bags at a time.

In addition to Spanish there are 28 indigenous dialects spoken in the Department of Santa Rosa and Spanish is a second language for 40% of the population. Santa Rosa is the only region in Guatemala where the ancient language of Xinca is spoken, or “semi-spoken,” since all forms of Xinca are considered technically extinct and as of 2010 there are no longer any completely fluent speakers alive. Language and cultural diversity is common in all the highlands of Guatemala.

Diversity, or perhaps adaptability, was the watchword behind development of the Ayarza Cherry Mill. Covoya and our colleagues at ofi wanted the flexibility to use a variety of processing methods, including newly emerging innovative techniques, whatever the coffee itself and the market requires. From traditional naturals, to fully washed coffee and everything in between, the mill near Laguna de Ayarza is ready for anything, including the very finest coffees from the region that receive the Blue Ayarza moniker.


 Six reasons for making Clear Lake Coffee Roasters - CLCR - your go-to coffee roaster:

☕️ We are a local family-run business located in the heart of Clear Lake, Iowa.

☕️ We go to great lengths to find only the finest and ethically sourced coffee around, from the top 2% of coffee beans in the world.

☕️ We only source 100% certified Arabica coffee beans, carefully hand-selecting each coffee based on specific quality and taste attributes.

☕️ Our roasting process has been refined over the years and each roast profile is individually designed to complement the nuances of the coffee we source, from Cup of Excellence (COE) award-winning producers.

☕️ By roasting in smaller batches, we can ensure our coffee is ALWAYS fresh, in fact, we roast your coffee only after you place an order - the same day your order ships out.

☕️ At CLCR, we are dedicated to a single mission: the unyielding pursuit of coffee perfection in every cup.

We would give you more reasons, but rather than reading it's better if you visit our website, purchase a bag or two, and experience a unique caffeinated or half-caff journey for yourself 😊!
Explore goodness. Click. Buy. Smile.

Clear Lake City Park Beach - Named one of USA Today's top 50 Beaches in the United States.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published