Farm: Finca La Esmeralda
Varietal: Criollo, Costa Rica, Garnica & Mundo Novo
Processing: Fully washed & dried on patios
Altitude: 1,180 metres above sea level
Owner: Dionicio Arguelles Martínez
Town / City: Pihualtepec, Tatatila
Finca La Esmeralda (Veracruz) - Mexico
Dionicio Arguelles and Rosa Gómez – the current owners of Finca La Esmeralda – were born in San Andrés Tlacolulan and La Concordia, both municipalities of Mexico’s state of Veracruz. Sr. Arguelles started his adult life as a coffee picker working in a large, local coffee plantation. As he would work, Sr. Arguelles would look for seedlings that had fallen and begun to germinate. That is, until his boss yelled at him: “Dionicio! STOP pulling up those seedlings. I will give you your own coffee seeds as soon as you have a piece of land to plant them on so that you can start your own farm!” This is exactly what Dionicio did! Together he and Rosa worked hard and saved – including a period working in New York in the United States on a dairy farm – and eventually started their own farm, all with seeds donated by Sr. Arguelles’ former boss, Don Andrés Huerta.
Today the couple and their 9 children (bridging 25 years to 6 years old) live and work on the farm together. The family has built their own home at La Esmeralda and live there year-round. The older children who still live at home help with all the farm labours.
Farm activities and processing are managed so as to make the most of the farm’s small size. For the most part, the farm is managed organically, with only organic fertilisers from compost and worm compost being used. All leaf fall and organic waste produced by the shade trees is also composted down and used as fertiliser.
Harvest activities are managed from a perspective of preserving quality from the very beginning. All pickers (most of whom are family members) are trained to harvest only the ripest and reddest cherries from the trees at each pass. The coffee is then delivered to the farm’s small pulper where it is first sorted and then pulped on the same day that it is picked. After pulping, the coffee is fermented in clean tanks for 12 to 24 hours, depending on the weather. After optimal fermentation is reached, the coffee is washed with clean water.
After being fully washed, the coffee is delivered to dry on concrete patios, where it is turned regularly until it reaches around 11.5% humidity. Drying times can vary depending on the weather.