Developing relationships with people is one of the main reasons we are in this business.
These are our Farmer's stories.
575 Café is made up of few different coffee producers in northern Tolima, Colombia. Herbert Peñaloza Correa, who is the R&D director of the operation, didn't have generations of coffee farming running through his blood like many of his colleagues. With lots of travel and corporate responsibilities, Herbert decided to return to his home in Colombia and start 575 Café. Herbert isn't only committed to quality, but he's also committed to helping the people he works with grow. This is just part of the story of 575 Café.
La Palma & El Tucán
La Palma & El Tucán is coffee project with a farm and wet-mill located in the Cundinamarca department of Colombia, about two hours west of Bogotá in the central range of the Colombian Andes. There are two sides to La Palma & El Tucán, 'Neighbors & Crops' and 'Estate & Varietals.' We will have coffee from both of these sides of La Palma & El Tucán within the coming weeks.
Finca El Limonar comes to us from Rogelio Aguirre Ovalle and his mother Rosa Maria Ovalle. This farm has been in the same family for over 100 years. The farm was part of a larger estate that was divided amongst the children of the original owner. This estate was divided into Finca Injerto (the most famous farm in Guatemala if not the world) Finca Injerto II and Finca El Limonar. All of these farm's processing stations and other infrastructures sit in the same bowl-like valley – their coffees growing on the extremely steep surrounding mountains. The farm is situated near La Libertad, Huehuetenango, right near the Mexican boarder.
Finca El Limonar was taken over by Rogelio's dad in 1986. In the early 90's Rogelio's father died in an accident. For a short time, Doña Rosa Maria took over the farm, but Rogelio's uncle basically took ownership from her (unfortunately rural society and family politics in many coffee growing areas, especially until very recently, didn't really accept female ownership and operation of farms). This didn't sit well with Doña Rosa Maria and she took ownership of their farm back after a couple of years. Doña Rosa Maria is a very strong and inspiring woman. She doesn't take anything from anyone, but it is apparent she is the heart of the family.
When Doña Rosa Maria took the farm back it was producing only a small amount of commodity coffee. She saw the opportunity to produce speciality and she started planting more areas of the farm and improving their operations. They are now producing one hundred times what they were in the mid-90's. Seventy hectares of the farm is planted in shade-grown coffee as well as macadamia nuts and twenty two and a half hectares are set aside as a natural reserve. Their coffee placed in the Cup of Excellence both in 2013 and 2014 and they are looking to place again this year. This is some of the absolute best coffee coming out of Guatemala.
Finca Twi'Ha is owned by Armando Gomez. The farm was originally owned by Armando's grandfather, Eusebio Gomez. Armando has been working on the farm since he was 23 years old and in 2011, he was able to purchase it from his uncles. Today, Armando and his family (wife, 2 sons and 2 daughters) take care of the two hectare farm. The whole family is involved with all aspects of the production from planting, seeing it through to processing.
The farm is planted in pure Arabica varietals and well managed with shade and fruit trees. Every time we visit the Gomez family, their dedication to quality production is very apparent. In the past year, Armando has built a coffee drying patio so he can dry his coffee on a clean surface instead of on the dirt. He has also been able to recently expand the farm and build a handful of raised drying beds to improve his drying methods even more. The mill on their property is clean and Armando is focused on expanding the farm and continuing to plant non-hybridized coffee varietals.
Malacara B is a lushly forested farm on the side of the Santa Ana volcano. The property was once part of a larger farm called Medellin. Samuel Alvarez Lalinde maintained the farm most recently, until 1995 when he passed it down to his children and it was divided into Malacara A, B and C.
The Dumonts grow red, yellow, orange and pink Bourbon on their farm. Malacara B, is located around 5,000 feet above sea level. The farm is very organized, well-maintained, and farmed using sustainable practices. During our most recent visit, we spent a good part of the afternoon walking the land, checking on the shrubs, admiring the views and sampling coffee cherries before heading off to the opposite side of the farm where the farm house and varietal garden is located.
The Dumonts are focused on quality and are intent on continuously progressing. Their approach is helping to push speciality coffee forward. We are happy to have partnered with them the past few years in bringing you some really beautiful coffee.