FINCA ESQUIPULAS STORY
Arlin Andino comes from a coffee-growing family, so she has always been related to the production of coffee. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that Arlin started producing coffee on her own farm. The reason Arlin produces coffee, more than a way to make a living, is because it is her passion, and she loves the product. In her experience, she has learned that producing high-quality coffee is not improvised, it is not something that happens just at the moment of the harvest. She learned it is a process, and a constant effort must be made at every step of production. For Arlin, it is especially important to keep the right varieties on her farm, those that have the potential to produce specialty coffee. “I’m not afraid of leaf rust; I take advantage of the climatic conditions of my farm to grow traditional varieties and produce the best coffee possible,” says Arlin. She now grows mostly Catuai and Caturra varieties and has a small plot of Maragogype, and all the coffee is dried at Caravela’s La Concordia drying site.
Finca Esquipulas is especially important in the local community, it has been Rain Forest Alliance Certified for 3 harvests now. It is a model farm in the area in terms of setting up living barriers, protecting water resources, and opening roads while respecting nature. At the farm, there are four water springs and a creek that supplies water to a local community, benefiting more than 100 homes. Here, the local government built a water reception and treatment pile, directly helping these families. In terms of agronomic management, Arlin has been focusing on using biological fertilizers providing good crop yields, favoring the growth of healthy coffee fruits, resistance to pest attacks, and offering ease of application. She doesn’t apply herbicides, as all weeding is carried out manually. This helps protect coffee trees’ root system and the plant’s health overall. Additionally, she feels enormously proud that she pays fair prices to the people that work on the farm. Also, over the last two harvests Arlin has invested in setting up her own cupping lab, to learn more about quality and be more involved in all aspects of the processing and doing quality control at the farm level.
Arlin shares, “When you drink a cup of coffee, most of the time you don’t think about all the work behind it, all the people that with their hands are involved with the process. I’ve involved myself in all these activities, I’ve placed myself in the shoes of the people that work with me, and from there, I can see the real value of a cup of coffee. This means that when a person drinks a coffee produced on my farm, they’re drinking all the hard work and effort.”