When it comes to history, Alotenango in the Acatenango Valley of Guatemala is steeped in it. The name, derived from “Alo-tenamitl-co,” means "In the wall of the parrots." Many centuries before the Spanish arrived in the year 1524 A.D., it was known as Vucuc Caquix, and its people were--and still are--predominantly Mayan. Some of their myths and history were preserved by a Spanish Dominican friar, Francisco Ximénez. His account, the Popol Vuh (Poopol Wuuj) is one of the few records of the Post Classic period in MesoAmerica.
Coffee came later, but once ensconced, the soil of Alotenango has proven ideal. Here the rising slopes of the often active Volcan de Fuego are dusted with sand and ash, which growers must balance with organic matter to keep their coffee plants in top production. Much of this area is part of a forest reserve, which helps protect the watershed.