German Peña grows coffee on Finca El Roblar with his wife and two kids. A great example of family working together on quality. German receives help with fertilization, cleaning and harvesting from his brothers-in-law, nephews and brothers, as well who live nearby the farm.
When German was 14 years old, his family owned a coffee plantation which was located at lower altitude neighbouring their grandmother’s farm. His father sold that patch and left German a small plot of land. This is currently where El Roblar is located. In those times the farm had very basic forms of accomodation, no house and therefore having to sleep in a tent as they worked on the farm. Starting with no coffee trees on a farm and with quite low average temperatures. The land back then was only used for letting their animals wander around.
He started working on the land, very judiciously, planting coffee, designing his plan to make the house. He finally moved to this farm 12 years ago. With time, little by little, he bought more lots to this farm from his father’s and neighbors’ to have everything under the same deed. During these years, he built a house and good infrastructure to process specialty coffees – including raised beds, a large canopy and table for pre-sorting before fermenting the coffee.
Important to note that up until now, he still doesn’t have a road to the farm, he has to get everything down by mule and horse, and he has to make many trips to get all the coffee down to the village. There are many producers who have inherited plots of land, worked many years more on the subject of coffee, but still do not have a similar infrastructure to process coffee. German is considered a good example of starting from scratch.
In the past German Peña won 2nd place in a Federación Nacional de Cafeteros local contest in Suaza. German meticulously separates his lots and delivers part of his Caturra to the local cooperative as part of their “premium” program. The rest comes in through the Santa Maria station. The coffee is fermented for 20-24 hours and then dried on raised African beds in a parabolic dryer for anywhere from 15-28 days, depending on the weather conditions.
The cup quality is a clear reflection of the efforts that German puts into producing his coffees and he has already indicated his interest in fermentation experiments to see about improving cup quality in not only his Caturra, but also the other varieties he grows at the finca. He has in total 2.5 hectares with 60% are planted with Caturra.
The coffee for El Roblar is paid in direct contact with the farmer. All payments are done in relation to quality allowing farmers to be compensated for improving their processing methods.
Finca El Roblar sits at an elevation of approximately 1,830 m.a.s.l. with 2.5 hectares of coffee area. He is well organized and focuses on clean processing. After pulping, German decomposes the husk to create organic material for the farm and he also has filters for acidic “honey” water to avoid the contamination of the river.