Maria Pedrina Gutierrez
FINCA LA JOYA STORY
In the wonderful mountains of Chalatenango lies Finca La Joya, a farm immersed in a mesmerizing microclimate. It’s led by Maria Pedrina, her husband, Jose Guillermo, and their son. Maria’s journey into the world of coffee began when she inherited a piece of land from her father. Meanwhile, her husband was involved in a project with the Church. During a visit to the project leader’s house, they were asked why they hadn’t considered growing coffee on Maria’s suitable land. Back then, they hadn’t made any plans to utilize the land due to limited resources. So, the church leaders took the initiative and decided to support them, marking the beginning of their coffee venture. Through perseverance and hard work, Maria and Jose eventually acquired more land and expanded their coffee plantation.
For over 15 years, their family has dedicated themselves to coffee production. However, the 2023 harvest is a pivotal year in their coffee journey, as it signifies their first year selling specialty coffee with Caravela. Maria reflects, “The experience has been incredibly positive. We have achieved better prices, and now we actually know that our coffee has the potential to produce a great cup. This motivates our family to keep going.”
According to Maria, what sets her farm apart is the exceptional combination of fertile soils, high elevation, microclimate, and meticulous agronomic practices employed in the plantations. Today, various coffee varieties are thriving at her farm, with Catuai comprising 67% of the plantation and Pacamara making up the remaining 33%. Regarding coffee processing, Maria emphasizes selective harvesting for each batch. For instance, coffee harvested naturally ferments in cherry first in clean sacks, ensuring a clean and natural process. The following day, the coffee is pulped, and fermentation is carried out for 18 to 20 hours, depending on the temperature. After fermentation, the coffee is thoroughly washed, and the wet parchment is carefully transferred to raised beds. Next, they initiate a pre-drying process that spans 2 or 3 days to stabilize the coffee. Finally, the partially dried coffee is transported to their home, which undergoes the final 8-day drying stage.