Ramiro Martinez runs Finca El Limonar, situated In San Pedro Necta in Huehuetenango. Like many of the farms that The Coffee Quest is working with, Finca El Limonar is a family farm. In the case of the Martinez family, the farm has been in possession of the family for three generations now.
For all three generations, the sole focus of the farm has been on coffee – a focus that is expected to be carried on for upcoming generations, too! For Ramiro Martinez, the appreciation of coffee as a craft is very important. As he says himself, coffee production is hard work that takes a lot of time and dedication. When it comes to bringing his coffee to you and the consumer, it is of priority to him that the quality is outstanding.
The three varieties, Bourbon, Caturra and Pache, that Ramirez is growing are harvested between December and March. The region of Huehuetenango is known for being one of the regions with the highest altitudes and the Martinez family is growing theirs at an altitude of 1,600 to 1,700 metres above sea-level. After the harvest, the beans are being washed and fermented for 24 hours. The final drying process is done on the patio.
The cup of the Caturra/Bourbon we got on offer this year has a clean and sweet profile, with a sweet-fruity taste of dried fruits, orange peel and wild berries.
Small producers in Central America often face the hurdle of low prices and labour exploitation – an issue that The Coffee Quest is targeting. As Ramiro Martinez says himself, coffee production is hard work, and the work and dedication should be compensated accordingly. The fight for transparent and fair pricing can only be done together with small producers, like Finca El Limonar, and we are proud to be working with them!
At Finca San Antonio, the natural environment is at the core of their agenda. Ricardo feels a special link to the farm and its environment. The farm has agroforestry plots which allow the coffee to grow in shade. The plots are within walking distance of each other, so the only time the farm’s old tractor is used is for the transport of equipment.
Moreover, the small farm has been herbicide-free for eight years. However, the farm’s microclimate attracts fungal infections easily. As an agroforestry engineer himself, Ricardo has very strict criteria regarding when and how to use chemicals to fight fungal infections: Chemicals are only used if natural methods do not work, and if chemicals are really needed, they are only applied in very small doses that still fall into the criteria of sustainable practices.
Ricardo shared with us, however, that urbanisation is challenging small-holder farmers like him to increase productivity while keeping faith to the values of transparency and quality. Under such pressure, the maintenance of quality and sustainable practices is difficult, which is why for The Coffee Quest is important to support the farmers in their mission.