Farm: Finca Providencia (Huehuetenango)
Varietal: Caturra (75%) w/ Bourbon, Mundo Nuevo & Catuai
Processing: Fully washed & dried on patios or guardiolas
Altitude: 1,550 to 1,900 metres above sea level
Owner: Max Ariel Palacios Villatoro
Town / City: San Pedro Necta
Overall: Hazelnut, apple, raisins & chocolate
Finca La Providencia, Huehuetenango - Guatemala
Finca La Providencia is situated in the high mountains surrounding the town of San Pedro Necta in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. The farm has been in the Palacios family since 1954, and since that time it has been passed down through three generations, starting with Maximiliano Palacios through to his son Javier Palacios Funes (who passed away in 2006 at the age of 91) on to the current owner, Max Ariel Palacios Villatoro.
Max will almost certainly pass on the farm to his own children, who will be the fourth generation to farm in this beautiful land. For now, however, Max holds down the fort, overseeing all aspects of farm management, both administrative and agricultural. He is a highly experienced and dedicated coffee producer with over 40 years of experience, a deep love of the land and a comprehensive knowledge of the region.
Finca La Providencia’s location and elevation gives it an advantage in producing a very high quality coffee. The farm’s water resources are abundant, with several springs across the area, and the region has distinct wet and dry seasons, which are beneficial for flowering and processing. Farming in Huehuetenango, however, is not without its challenges. The topography of the farm is broken and very irregular, which makes harvesting and cultivation activities more laborious. Fertilisation of the clay loam soil must be done with stringent attention to detail in order to avoid ‘washing’ and erosion. For this reason, nearly 30% of the farm is kept under native forest, which helps prevent soil washing down the steep inclines and preserves the local ecology.
The harvest begins in late December and ends in early April. Coffee is selectively hand harvested, with pickers choosing only the ripest cherries, and is then eco-pulped using the farm’s multiple Penagos pulpers. The pulpers reduce the environmental impact of wet processing by reducing water usage and waste. After pulping, the mucilage is removed and then the coffee is delivered to dry on the farm’s extensive patios or (if the weather is wet) in the guardiolas, where it dries at a slow and even temperature.
For each of these stages, qualified staff oversee activities to avoid any risk of contamination or deterioration of quality.