Everything You Want To Know About the Coffees of Belize!
The country of Belize is located between the Mexican and Guatemalan Mountains and the beautiful Caribbean Sea. Belize coffee is cultivated organically under the rainforest canopy at the Gullon Jug Estate on the high plateaus of western Belize.
The estate is 130,000 acres in all including cattle, corn, orchards, wild game and a tourist resort.
The fertile soils and subtropical, temperate climate provide ideal conditions for growing fine Arabica coffee. The forests of the region were once covered with the prized mahogany trees that were felled to panel the walls of aristocrats in England. Today the forests of Belize provide shade for Arabica coffee plants.
The country of Belize was formerly known as the British Honduras and is the northernmost nation of Central America and has the lowest population density. To the west of the country is Guatemala and to the north is Mexico. The Caribbean Sea sits to the east. Belize has a diversity of ecosystems including some prime coffee growing areas.
Characteristics of Belize Coffee
The coffee cherry are hand-picked at peak ripeness and then wet processed. After being sun-dried, the coffee beans are roasted and vacuum packed in oxygen-free containers to preserve the freshness of the Belize coffee.
Though Belize does not benefit from the readily available low-cost labor and high elevation of its Central American neighbors – e.g., Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Mexico – it nevertheless is able to produce premium Belize coffee beans that are gaining an increasing respect in the specialty coffee market.
Also see: World’s Best Coffee
Belize Coffee Continued – Coffee Farm Development in Belize
Numerous other coffee growing operations have been taking hold in Belize including experimental coffee farms and small plantings at visitor lodges to provide guests with home-grown gourmet Belize coffee.
A 50-acre farm in Gullon Jug in the country’s Orange Walk District is developing a finca mostly using a coffee plant varietal that originally came from Costa Rica and grows exceptionally well at low altitudes. These plants are cultivated beneath jungle shade in natural areas that have been thinned to accommodate the coffee plants.
The coffee beans are roasted using a twelve-kilogram Probat roasting machine producing a Dark Roast and Medium Roast that is marketed in Belize grocery stores under the Gallon Jug brand. The coffee offers a mild body with a relatively low acidity and a pleasant taste.
Belize and Other Caribbean Coffees
Belize coffee is symbolic of a wider trend of small Caribbean coffee producers beginning to plant coffee to piggyback on their already burgeoning tourist industry. Also favoring the Belize coffee is the emphasis on ecologically friendly coffee to meet the growing demand for socially and environmentally responsible coffee beans.