Ricardo Chacón Bosch is the man behind Finca San Antonio in the South of Guatemala. The mission of growing coffee started 30 years ago with Ricardo’s grandfather. Together with Ricardo, he is still taking care of the farm. It was the beginning of the 90s, but the farm was already in possession of Bosch’s family for over 70 years,
Nowadays, Ricardo is running Finca San Antonio, managing the activities of everyone working at the farm and taking care of the coffee plants. Every day, Ricardo visits the plots on foot and checks the coffee plants, putting in practice what he learnt from his family and his master in agroforestry engineering.
“Coffee is more than a product, coffee production is a culture. It takes so many practices and disciplines to deliver a great cup of coffee.” – Ricardo Chacón Bosch
For Ricardo, coffee is not just coffee. He does not only value the coffee for the purpose of continuing what his grandfather has started. To him, his passion for coffee drives his future ambitions. Ricardo is busy setting up the ideal baseline for his quality so that he can participate in national events.
Alongside their coffee, Ricardo and his grandfather also have timber and bees on their farm, meaning that there is a lot of work to be done. So they have four other staff members helping them out with tending the coffee, timber and the bees. During the busy period of coffee harvest, there are ten more workers coming in to make sure that the coffee is properly harvested.
Ricardo grows mainly Caturra, Catisic and Catimor varieties within his agroforestry plots in Fraijanes, South of Guatemala. The region of Fraijanes is one of the well-known regions for fine-tasting coffee. The washed coffee from Finca San Antonio is definitely contributing to this reputation.
The cup profile of this coffee offers some fruity notes varying from stone to pome to citrus fruits, and there is a taste layer of creaminess, too.
Ricardo shares with us the struggle of the pressure of holding up with urbanisation and the demands that come with this process. Generally, small producers in Central America often face the hurdle of low prices and labour exploitation – an issue that The Coffee Quest is targeting.
“What makes me happy about the collaboration with The Coffee Quest is the direct communication” – Ricardo Chacón
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.
Discover other stories from Guatemala...
Finca San Antonio is a family-owned farm located in the South of Guatemala. Read about Ricardo’s 100-year-old coffee production.