Finca NataMaya: Sonsonate, El Salvador

As we enter into our third harvest with Finca NataMaya, we are excited to continue our relationship with producing partners Nena and Hermann Mendez. 

Named after their two daughters, Natalia and Mayita, the Mendez’ purchased Finca NataMaya in 2005.  The area, previously used for coffee cultivation, had been abandoned fifteen years prior. The farm is situated on Cerro del Aguila (Eagle Mountain) in the department of Sonsonate.

Finca NataMaya is planted with 62 hectares of coffee varieties, the majority of which are Bourbon and Pacas, growing at an altitude of 1,270 meters and continuing until 1,600 meters.  To protect trees from the harsh winds that occur in this region, the farm uses a system of both vertical and horizontal windbreaks called “cortinas” that serve to protect cherries during severe weather.  This practice is illustrated in the photo below.  

In addition to coffee, there are 32 hectares of forest preserve with a variety of old growth Cypress, Oak and Cedar trees as well as many indigenous species. Half of this preserve is situated in a cloud forest, which ascends to the highest point of the farm at 2,035 meters. From Finca NataMaya, you can see a series of mountains within the Apaneca-Illamatepec range, as well as the nearby town of Juayúa. 

In May of 2014, the Mendez began to experiment with several microlot varieties, including Kenya and Pacamara, which they planted at 1,600 meters.

Although Finca NataMaya is accessible by vehicle, it is quite remote. The local community of Ojo de Agua resides within the farm, whose members have inhabited this area for over 200 years. Due to its isolated location, the Mendez family has been passionate about collaborating closely and extensively with Ojo de Agua. Notable projects include a health clinic staffed with a physician, a primary school, a new soccer field for community members and students, a water tank, and latrines. These programs were made possible by donations from the Mendez Family, the SQ Foundation, and U.S. roasting partners Caffe Ladro and Zoka Coffee 

View a complete gallery of Finca NataMaya here: FINCA NATAMAYA GALLERY. 

 Vertical and horizontal windbreaks within Finca NataMaya

Vertical and horizontal windbreaks within Finca NataMaya

 Ripening Cherries in early November 

Ripening Cherries in early November 

Finca Argentina: Ahuachapan, El Salvador

We are proud to introduce our newest producing partner: Finca Argentina. 

Finca Argentina is a 35 hectare specialty coffee farm, situated on the northern slopes of the Apaneca-Illamatepec mountain range, in Turin, Ahuachapan. The farm has been producing coffee for over 70 years, and was purchased in 1967 by Luis Guillermo, grandfather of current manager, Alejandro Martinez. 

The farm is planted with nearly 100% Bourbon, and is managed by Alejandro Martinez, who is committed to maintaining and replanting areas of the farm that were affected by the recent outbreak of rust. Proactive management, has seen the farm make a near 100% recovery, and bordering areas of the farm, have been purchased and replanted with resistant varieties, in order to protect the central growing areas of Finca Argentina. 

The farm is divided into six micro-lots, (called tablones in spanish), that run from 1,150 - 1,350 meters above sea level. These lots (illustrated below), range in size, from three to twelve manzanas; and are planted with varying densities of trees. The smallest density lot contains 2,600 trees per manzana, and the heaviest contains roughly 3,500 trees per manzana. 

Positioned on the northern slopes on the Apaneca-Illamatepec Range, Finca Argentina faces the Guatemalan border, with a clear view of Volcan Chingo, which splits the El Salvador and Guatemalan border. Because of its location, the farm is less vulnerable to the heavy winds, common to this mountain range. It also receives an average yearly rainfall of 2,700 mm, several hundred more than the regional average. The average daily temperature is 23° Celsius. 

 Some unique natural aspects of the farm, include a river, which runs from the top of the mountain, through natural geysers which heat the water, and leave it at warm temperatures as it flows through the farm. Mud geysers can also be spotted within the farm, boiling grey mud and generating steam. 

View a complete gallery of photos from our visit to the farm here: FINCA ARGENTINA GALLERY. 

 Seven micro-lots of Finca Argentina. 

Seven micro-lots of Finca Argentina. 

 View of the Guatemalan border from Finca Argentina. Volcano Chingo in the center. 

View of the Guatemalan border from Finca Argentina. Volcano Chingo in the center. 

 Farm Manager - Alejandro Martinez, at one of the highest points of Finca Argentina.  

Farm Manager - Alejandro Martinez, at one of the highest points of Finca Argentina.  

Finca San Jorge: Santa Ana, El Salvador

 Farm gate at Finca San Jorge, in Santa Ana. 

Farm gate at Finca San Jorge, in Santa Ana. 

We are excited to continue our relationship with the Ortiz Herrera family and offer coffee from another one of their farms: Finca San Jorge. 

Finca San Jorge sits just a few miles down the road from Beneficio El Manzano, in the department of Santa Ana, nestled in the Apaneca-Illamatepec mountains. The farm, established in 1880, has been in the family for five generations, and currently produces about 97% Bourbon coffee, with a small additional lot of Pacas. 

This past year, the Ortiz Herrera's expanded their farm with the purchase of an additional 10.5 hectares of land.  Of that area, they have renovated 4.1 hectares with 20,700 red bourbon trees on a beautiful northeast-facing slope between 1200-1350 MASL. They plan to replenish an additional 6,000 trees over the next year. 

The lookout point “El Kiosko,” boasts extraordinary views of Santa Ana City, and the volcanoes of eastern Guatemala. The family has preserved a small area of land at the top of the farm, which includes a creek and a heavily forested lot attracting many species of birds. Finca San Jorge is Rainforest Alliance Certified.      

Within the farm, there is a small school where 80 children receive education through sixth grade.  The family funded an electrification program for the school.  Additionally, Mayita Mendez, one of the 5th generation farm owners, worked closely with the SQ Foundation to secure a $17,000 donation which was used to construct a kitchen, administration office, and adequate restrooms for the staff and students. 

View our complete photo gallery of the farm here: FINCA SAN JORGE

 Dana and Emilio with the Ortiz Family, at Finca San Jorge. 

Dana and Emilio with the Ortiz Family, at Finca San Jorge. 

 View of Volcan Chingo from the lookout point, near the top of Finca San Jorge. 

View of Volcan Chingo from the lookout point, near the top of Finca San Jorge.