Relationship Series: Finca El Platanar
Better Together! (Cheesy but true!)
(Backstory) La Cooperativa San Pedrana had a great year from a quality production perspective but due to the volcanic eruption and the naturally occurring low harvest season, we ended up not being able to fill our 3rd container. Don Timoteo had a great idea to use the export license of La Cooperativa San Pedrana in a way that could offer market access to farmers and communities that are doing a great job! It’s always been in our interest to give honor where honor is due and to find a way to give recognition to farmers that are doing a spectacular job.
So with the vision to extend our export license to other communities, and the suggestion of our local agronomist, Don Mainor, we now have two coffees this year that represent new relationships that we’re excited to pursue and continue.
Meet Don Daniel from Finca El Platanar. He’s the farm manager there and one of the first things that struck me about Don Daniel was his humility. It was neat to see how he interacted with the workers before we met with him and then while talking, he understood how building a relationship could revitalize and bring back more hope to the workers they employ. He had a genuine desire and thought for the workers. Finca El Platanar employs 18 full-time workers and over 200 workers during the harvesting season from the nearby community.
One of the main conversations that took place was really about how much land they’ve had to abandon and how that concerns them about being able to give more employment opportunities. So over 50% of Finca El Platanar’s land has been abandoned since 2012, when the leaf rust epidemic first started. Each year they made a decision to strategically invest their money into areas in which they could manage best. This meant abandoning small areas each year due to the low prices they’ve been receiving, although hoping for a turn in the market to later renovate these areas. With less land to manage, that also meant less need for workers. You could tell Don Daniel has wanted to do something to bring a change to this situation of theirs. He was passionate, eager, and yet concerned.
Thankfully, they've already started doing something different. Last year they cut their abandoned plants, prepped the land and are in the process of renovating back a portion of these abandoned lands. We talked about plant health maintenance and how important it is to give the plants the food it needs to have the vigor that often helps them to fight diseases like leaf rust.
Don Daniel was really excited about working with us this year because they often don’t recieve prices that encourage good farming practices. Better farming practices increase production, helps plants be more resistant to leaf rust, and produces a better cup quality. He really wants that type of relationship for Finca El Platanar and so it was neat to see the intentionality he and his workers took to ensure even and peak maturation.
It was neat to see how relationships that value quality often times value the farmers themselves at the same time. For Don Daniel, he understood how his work could enact change not just for the consumer end but for his end too. It inspired hope which is what we love seeing. We never knew hope would be such a valuable tool in building relationships that produce better quality coffee. Cool hey?
We told Don Daniel that we’d love to see farms like theirs grow so that they can offer more employment to their nearby community. Creating relationships between farmers and roasters in this instance could provide a great exchange between quality coffee and job employment opportunities. We’re excited to keep working with them and even ask for a larger lot to see if they could make improvements to reach out to more buyers in this way.
Introducing our first ever exported lot from Finca El Platanar!
Producer: Finca El Platanar (Cherries from Acatenango, Guatemala)
Wet Mill: La Cooperativa San Pedrana Agricola Integral
Varietals: Single Varietal: Caturra
Region: San Pedro Yepocapa, Chimaltenango, Guatemala
Altitude: 1,700+ masl
Harvest: December, 2018 - Feb, 2019
Processing: Fully Washed, Dry Fermentation, Patio Dried
Dry Milling: 15+ Special Preparation in 152lb/69kg Grain-Pro SHB
Cupping Notes: Toffy & Brown Sugars, Lighter Body, Green Apple Acidity, Floral Clove Complexity & Clarity.
Quantity: 9 Bags April, 2019