Guatemala – Apecaform

Round Guatemala Flag
Sweetwater CEO Tripp Pomeroy converses with farmers in the fields


Founded in 1992, legalized in 1998, comprised of 400 members

Geographic Region

San Marcos and Tajamulco Volcano


1000 - 1900 meters above sea level


Arabica - Typica, Caturra, Bourbon


Organic; FLO; SPP

Coffee Profile

Bright acidity, medium body w/milk chocolate, spice, vanilla and caramel flavors

Current Lot

GUM2308 (click icon to view)

Relationship Started


Amount Purcased

2433.92 lbs from this lot

Founded in 1992, APECAFORM's mission has been to promote local, small-scale coffee production. The cooperative now represents about 400 members across 17 communities, all dedicated to preserving their Mayan culture and agricultural traditions. Based in Pueblo Nuevo, APECAFORM centralizes the final coffee processing steps and hosts organizational meetings and training programs. The cooperative operates democratically, with five community centers collecting coffee and providing leadership. Each center elects its own Board of Directors. Additionally, APECAFORM has 21 local organic promoters who coordinate social projects and train members in organic agricultural practices and marketing.

APECAFORM members proudly display their first export sacks bearing the Small-Producer Symbol (SPP). Manos Campesinas, a second-tier export cooperative established in 1996, manages buyer contracts and export processes for APECAFORM and other regional producers. Manos Campesinas earned Fair Trade certification in 1997, and APECAFORM producers received Organic certification in 2003.

Since partnering with Manos Campesinas and introducing the Fair Trade program, APECAFORM has tripled the prices its producers can command for their coffee. Fair Trade premiums have funded several community projects, such as constructing a central coffee storage warehouse in Malacatan, developing experimental plots for coffee production testing, and supporting the organic promoter network. APECAFORM and Manos Campesinas plan further community development projects, including building a central wet processing facility, developing a roastery, and establishing a café in Quetzaltenango for direct sales to locals and tourists.

APECAFORM's producers are spread throughout the southwestern highlands of San Marcos, Guatemala, particularly on the slopes of the Tajumulco volcano. Farmers typically grow coffee at elevations between 1,000 and 1,900 meters above sea level, primarily cultivating Typica, Caturra, and Bourbon varieties. The harvest season runs from November to March, yielding a distinctively Guatemalan coffee known for its bright acidity, medium body, and notes of milk chocolate, spice, vanilla, and caramel.

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