Barista Magazine

JUN-JUL 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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land for investment, at that time I am not thinking of a farm. But then some guy offered me a farm, and I bought my fi rst farm. I continued to plant in coffee. I didn't expect to live in Marcala, I wanted to go back to Guatemala, but then four years later I met Marysabel, we got married and then we continued the business, like Finca El Puente. Marysabel: We got married in 1996. Moises: That was the beginning of Finca El Puente! BMag: Marysabel, what was it like to have your own farms with Moises after working with your family? Marysabel: It was a lot of learning, you know? I always tell the people: Because I was born in coffee, for me coffee is like a passion. Moises, he knew the coffee when he was in his 20s, so he saw in a tech- nical way, everything he saw more professional. I think in that way we make a good combination because I say sometimes, "Moises, I love this farm because this is the fi rst tree that we planted." But Moises says, "This tree? It doesn't work. We have to cut it out and we have to plant in another way." Sometimes I don't understand, but we make a balance. I think that we work very well. I am more passionate, Moises is more practical. It has been very nice because we have been learning a lot of things during our journey. For example, we have one farm that I really love because it has a beautiful view. One day Moises told me, "If someone came to buy this land from me, I'll sell it." I said, "No, don't sell because it's beautiful! Look, the view! Look at the farm, the way the farm is!" He told me, "Yes, but I don't sell views! We need to see the production to maintain the farm." Then one day we were in a seminar, and the guy in that seminar started to talk about the position of the land with the sun. And then Moises he said in that moment he started to see all the farms. All the lots, he thought, "OK, this is the lot that faces to the west, that's why the farm doesn't grow very well." When the seminar fi nished we stayed with the engineer and we asked him what can we do with this farm in this position. He said, "You have to plant with more space, because you need more sun and more air." So I think when you are not agronomist, on the way you have to learn, you have to try to be professional when you grow, you have to see all sides of what you are doing. BMag: Do you still have that farm? Did you keep it? Marysabel: Yes! And it's beautiful, it produces amazing coffee! One of the most amazing coffee that we have. BMag: Was it hard at fi rst to grow the farms and begin to really produce? Moises: In the beginning, yes, and especially because we started the farm in a new area in that time in Marcala. We needed to manage the climate, especially because it's a totally different soil, it's a different weather, it's totally different compared with other areas. Every day we are learning more and more about the coffee, but it's diffi cult sometimes because, for example, we need replant three or four times in the farm, and sometimes the coffee goes for almost fi ve, six years before fi rst production. But we are happy because in quality terms, the quality that we have in this area is very nice, and we manage very well to have a consistent quality. Marysabel: When you don't know something you have to make more research and you have to fi nd out more. For example, 20 years ago when the farm was one of the only farms in the area, it was more diffi cult because the weather was changing. It was colder, so you can imagine how diffi cult it was. As Moises say, one day on the farm we lost maybe 80 percent of the little plants because the cold weather killed all the plants. Now it's much less, but at that time it was a great challenge to start a farm because the climate is very different in that area that we have. Even the trees, you can see they're different trees in that area. BMag: Did you always know that you were producing really high-quality coffees? Marysabel: You know, Moises always told me we have great coffees. He said these coffees must be good, these coffees are very good. But before, we would sell the coffee to the normal exporter. Moises always ordered the coffee in a very neat way, and I used to say, "Why do you want your coffee so neat? We are going to sell to a big exporter, they're going to mix everything." He said, "I know my coffee will make a difference. I know in that they will put my coffee in a big silo and they will fi nd out that the coffee is very good just from my coffee. Then the next year, they will see which silo, and they will see who the producers are. I know in three or maybe fi ve years, they will know my coffee." And it happened, three years later that they knew! So we had a better price for our coffee than the rest of the coffees from that. I 98 barista magazine

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