Farm: Pena Redonda
Varietal: 100% Pacamara
Processing: Fully washed & Sun dried
Altitude: 1,400 to 1,500 meters above sea level
Owner: Carlos Mauricio Lemus Landaverde
Town / City: La Palma
Region: Chalaltenango - (Alotepec-Metapan)
Cup of Excellence Lot #12 Pena Redonda - El Salvador
Peña Redonda lies in the fertile foothills of the Alotepec-Metapan mountain range, in the municipality of La Palma in El Salvador’s Chalatenango Department. The farm ranges across 8 hectares on slopes that reach 1,400 to 1,500 meters above sea level. Peña Redonda’s name is derived from a large rock (180 metres by 60 metres) that is located in the middle of the farm, and the region is, indeed, rocky. Far from struggling with the area’s rough terrain, however, Carlos Mauricio Lemus Landaverde has shown Peña Redonda to be a prime example of the region’s potential for excellence in coffee quality. He farms 4 acres of Pacamara, 4 of Pacas and ¾ of an acre of Bourbon here, and his coffee has placed in El Salvador’s Cup of Excellence for the last four years running.
The La Palma municipality played a large role in El Salvador’s bloody civil war, and the entire Chalatenango Department suffered greatly. From the very inception of the war in 1980 and onwards, the municipality provided a platform for the ideological work of the guerrillas and later served as a battleground for combat between the insurgents and the army. Throughout the 1990s, many across the region were forced to abandon their homes. This is, perhaps, part of the reason that that the region is somewhat less known for its coffee than the renowned Santa Ana region. However, despite its relative remoteness and lower yields, the region has the capacity to produce stunning coffee and has represented well in Cup of Excellence competitions. Peña Redonda demonstrates this exceptionally.
Carlos takes a meticulous approach to all aspects of coffee production, from cultivation to shade management to processing. During the harvest, he ensures that only the ripest, most undamaged cherries are selected. On the same day that it is picked, coffee is delivered to the wet mill to be depulped by hand and is then immediately delivered to tanks for fermenting. After fermentation, the coffee is washed and is then put to dry on patios for between 14 to 16 days, where it is turned on a regular basis to ensure even drying.
According to Carlos, the secret to his repeated COE wins is the excellent treatment that his farm receives and the hard work and dedication that he and his family (he has 7 brothers!) put into coffee farming.