If you've ever imagined starting your own coffee farm, you might dream of a place like Finca El Manantial (which means Farm of the Springwater Source). Mario Guerrero has put a lot of work and love into his farm. It's tiny - just 1.5 hectares - and it's a bold experiment in how to raise the quality of Ecuadoran coffee.
Always an innovator, Mario combines three different coffee varieties - Bourbon, "improved" Typica and an Ethiopian hybrid - to create the intriguing mixture of flavors we find in his coffee beans. He harvests and pulps the coffee at the farm, then brings it to his house an hour away to wash and ferment it. Unlike most nearby farms, Mario dries the coffee in raised African beds... yet another way that this forward-thinking farmer is working to improve the quality and flavor of Ecuadoran coffee.
It is a pleasure to work with someone as serious and passionate about their work as Mario Guerrero. We have supported his project for years, and Seattle Coffee Works is the only place his coffee is available in the US. As for Mario, he enjoys getting to sell his entire coffee crop directly to us and looks forward to hearing how you like it!
Read our blog post about this coffee.
Region: Palanda-Zamora Chinchipe
Farmer: Mario Guerrero
Varietal: Bourbon, Typica and Ethiopian Hybrid
We Taste: Tangerine, Dark Chocolate, Cashew
Roast Level: Light (Agtron: 77)
Meet the Farmer
“Finca La Esperanza” was founded in 1956 by Mr. Heleodoro de Jesús Villatoro López, in “El Bojonal”, a small village in La Libertad, Huehuetenango. Later he moved to another small village “Hoja Blanca” and since then, his efforts where focused in the quality in his coffee. This effort prevails after the second and third generation in his family.
Located in La Libertad, Huehuetenango, North-East of Guatemala, with an altitude of 4,640 a 5,580ft osl, and an area of 50.61mz, different factors defined the microclimate such as warm and cold winds, heavy rain patterns, humitity, position of the land, temperatures with an average 18-20°C and sandy-clay soils. Cultivated coffee varieties are Bourbon, Caturra and Pacamara.
This farm is fortunate to be surrounded by two beautiful mountains and one more that at its center has a virgin natural forest, which allows a pleasant natural environment. Although the topography is steep, the crop management makes it different and unique in its quality.
In order to cultivate quality coffee the farm performs specific practices, for the pruning, shade control, weed control, integrated management of pests and diseases, soil conservation, and chemical fertilizers according to analysis.
For the harvest season, the cherries are handpicked for control over the quality. This involves cutting the mature red cherries while avoiding the mixture of green fruits, dry and damaged. These are placed in nylon baskets and bags kept under shade to avoid sun exposure. The coffee is then sent to the wet mill that same day.
The beans go through a depulping machine no longer than six hours after they were picked. The fermentation process takes from 24 to 36 hours. To continue the process, the coffee is washed and sun-dried separated by varieties. The farm has its own wet mill, patios.
In order to make the first purchases of land Mr. Villatoro Heleodoro had to work several years buying and transporting coffee; walking a 60kms distance for several days. In 1956 he founded "La Esperanza" farm. He had many obstacles to negotiate the coffee, as there were no paths or roads to Huehuetenango. But his love for the coffee and his desire to achieve a better life for his family motivated him to continue working hard until he was able to transport their coffee in the first trucks existing at the time from the farm to the dry mill in Palin, Guatemala.
For his honesty, dedication, and hard work, Mr. Villatoro is a big example for his sons, grandsons and family. He left a legacy that his family is now following.
Coffee for Aurelio Villatoro is:
"An exceptional drink. I enjoy it with my family and my desire and effort is that many people from around the world also enjoy it. We produce with work and love."
"Una bebida excepcional, lo disfruto con mi familia y mi deseo y esfuerzo es que muchas personas de todo el mundo también lo disfruten, se producen con trabajo y cariño."