One of the things I really appreciate about Jose María is that he only wants to do things the right way. When he started in 2009, he didn’t have any previous experience in coffee and based some of his early decisions on what others in the region had done. He began by planting Pacas, Bourbon and some Catimor (IHCAFE-90) on his farm and set up a simple wet mill.
In 2013 he had his first harvest and sold his coffee to a local exporter, who then blended it with other regional coffees and sold it on the commodity market. It was not until 2016 that he began working with Benjamin Paz from San Vicente. Benjamin, passionate about helping farmers produce better quality coffee, began giving Jose María advice, and improvements quickly began at the farm. Since then, Jose María has teamed up with his wife Yolanda and his son Tarquino to create a well-run farm.
Jose María and Yolanda share the duties of running the farm (planting, pruning, soil management, picking) as well as the coffee fermentation and washing. Tarquino has taken the reigns in the drying department – he is keen on a slow, controlled drying process with a precise endpoint – music to my ears. I actually met Tarquino four years ago when he was starting to take note of good drying practices and had a chance to help him calibrate a moisture meter and share my thoughts on the importance of proper drying. Jose María’s science background has been instrumental in developing a plan for the farm that is methodical and precise. While Jose María, Yolanda, and Tarquino are relatively new producers, they have made tremendous strides in just a few short years and we have no doubt they will be a force to be reckoned with.
The lot I selected this year is comprised of mostly Pacas, with a small percentage of Bourbon and Catimor. When we meet a coffee producer who so clearly shares our vision for coffee, we get excited for the future, because it is through these types of partnerships that we are able to take a part in pushing quality forward and contributing to our industry. This green coffee was frozen immediately on its arrival in Calgary, to preserve freshness.