Farm: Finca Magaña
Varietal: 100% Lempira
Processing: Fully washed
Altitude: 1,600 metres above sea level
Owner: Elvin Alexander
Town / City: San Jeronimo
Region: San Jeronimo
Overall: Floral, hop & apricot.
Finca Magana - Honduras
About 10 years ago, Elvin Alexander decided to plant a small coffee farm in the foothills outside of the town of San Geronimo, suspecting that the land’s high altitude and rich soil would produce an exceptional coffee. The view at 1,600 metres didn’t hurt either!
He began by first planting only a half a manzana (less than half a hectare) under coffee but quickly realised that the farm was sure to be a success. He extended his coffee plantation to three manzanas (about 2 hectares), establishing healthy plots of Lempira and Caturra. He hasn’t looked back since.
Which isn’t to say that coffee farming has been without difficulties: after a couple of years of poor development and a fierce battle with weeds overtaking the new, vulnerable trees, Elvin decided that much of what he had been doing on the farm (and some of the conventional wisdom regarding coffee production in the region) was erroneous. He first cut down many of the shade trees that had been planted on the farm, as they were making it far too dark and cool for the altitude. He then began adding ph correctors, such as lime, to balance the acidity of the soil and established a picturesque AND functional wind barrier constructed of Cyprus. These measures, along with stringent cultivation practices, regular pruning and well-timed fertilisation, have given very gratifying results.
Most of the work on the farm is done by Elvin himself. He works on the farm throughout the year and does most of the harvest work himself, as well – though he does hire local labourers to help during this period.
Due to its high altitude, the harvest at La Magaña begins later than much of the rest of the area. Usually picking begins at the middle of February (instead of December) and continues until the end of March.
After the coffee is selectively hand harvested, it is delivered to the farm’s own wet mill for pulping on the same day. The coffee is sorted and then carefully pulped into a tank. It is then fermented until the mucilage is completely depleted. After this, the coffee is washed in clean water.
Due to the cool, wet climate, Don Elvin dries most of his coffee onto screen-lined wooden beds that are stacked within solar driers (domos) – greenhouse-like structures constructed of wood and covered with UV-protective treated plastic. The solar dryer is constructed so as to allow maximum ventilation, which regulates temperature and prevents the drying pergamino from overheating.
The farm’s name, ‘La Magaña’, refers to a spring that rises to the surface on the farm. Elvin has made sure that the spring remains protected and keeps native vegetation untouched for a 10 metre radius around the spring. Like the spring, Don Elvin’s hopes for the future are strong and resilient. He is proud to contribute fine lots of Honduran coffee to the world.