Owner Ivan Ovalle is laser focused on producing high quality, ecologically-friendly coffees at his farm, Finca El Peñón in La Democracia, Huehuetenango. Ovalle holds an engineering degree and has utilized his training to increase Finca El Peñón’s water efficiency and to ensure that workers pick only the ripest cherry with the highest sugar content.
The farm is 75 hectares, 15 of which are devoted to forest reserves, while the remaining 60 hectares are planted with Caturra, Pache, and Bourbon.
Ovalle is meticulous about teaching workers to pick only ripe, red cherry at the exactly right moment. He uses analyses of Brix degrees (sugar content) to find the optimal moment at which to pick cherry. Workers selectively handpick cherry according to their training.
Finca El Peñón is dedicated to protecting the environment from any adverse effects of coffee growing. Ovalle has been focused on reducing water usage year after year and working with various certification programs to improve the farm’s environmental and social impacts.
After pulping, coffee is dry fermented for 36 to 48 hours, depending on ambient conditions. Then, parchment is washed in channels and after washing, laid to sundry on patios, where it will be raked regularly for 1.5 to 2 days. It is then transferred to a greenhouse covered with plastic sheeting, where it will dry on raised beds for around 6 days. Total drying time is 7-10 days, depending on climate at the time. Approximately 40% of the farm’s production is fully washed.
Dry parchment is then bagged and stored on the farm to 30 to 45 days before being transported to a dry mill in Escuintla.
Region: Aldea Chichinabaj, La Democracia, Huehuetenango
Farm: Finca El Penon
Elevation: 1450-2050 MASL
Variety: Bourbon, Caturra, Pache
Tasting notes: Medium bodied and balanced with toffee, fig, blood orange, and cherry.