Farm: Finca La Providencia
Varietal: 100% Caturra
Processing: Black Honey
Altitude: 1,100 to 1,300 meters above sea level
Owner: Fernando Alfaro & Jose Enrique Gutierrez
Town / City: Municipality of Tacuba in the department of Ahuachapan
Region: Cordillera Apaneca and Illamatepec
La Providencia Black Honey - El Salvador
Finca La Providencia is owned by Fernando Alfaro and Jose Enrique Gutierrez, who run the farm under the name INVERFINCA, SA de C.V. Both are fourth generation coffee producers in El Salvador and apply their cumulative experience and extensive knowledge to running the farm, which was acquired seven years ago with the idea of producing high quality coffee. Fernando and Jose have the primary goal of achieving high quality coffee production while producing high yields.
The farm is located in Canton La Pandeadura of the Tacuba municipality, department of Ahuachapan. Situated between 1,100 to 1,300 meters above sea level, La Providencia occupies 70 hectares bordering a biological corridor near the Parque Nacional El Imposible. The wildlife in the area is diverse and the air is clean and fresh.
The farm is worked with an integrated farm management system which starts with soil analysis to identify soil deficiencies and to meet the unique nutritional and structural needs of the soil. The farm hires, on average, between thirty and fifty employees during the off-harvest season to complete key works such as: coffee pruning, windbreaker pruning, and application of chalk and lime fertilizers, herbicides and foliage fertilizers, and controlling diseases such as coffee leaf rust.
The farm is planted with Red and Yellow Caturra and Red Bourbon. Coffee is harvested using only the strictest of quality control guidelines. The beans are picked when in full maturity and then are hand sorted to remove any damaged or under ripe cherries before they are delivered to the mill.
This 100% Caturra Black Honey coffee was processed at La Providencia’s wet mill.
This coffee has been processed using the Black Honey method, where immediately after being dry pulped it is put to dry in parijuelas (raised beds) and continually turned to ensure even drying and prevent over-fermentation. Parijuelas are wooden bed like structures that are raised above ground with mesh, much like African beds. After several days of pre-drying on the parijuelas, the coffee is then finished on clay patios. The drying time is about 22 days.
‘Honey’ processing is a method of low-water processing that is increasingly common across Central America. Different designations of white, yellow, red and black honey are often used among Central and South American farmers and commonly refer to differences in:
• the amount of mucilage left on the bean after pulping;
• how the beans are dried (i.e. direct sunlight or shaded conditions);
• the length of time and conditions under which the beans are dried.
Loosely, the following guidelines are followed when categorising a honey:
80-90% of the mucilage is removed
Beans are dried on raised beds in direct sun
Beans dry quickly in the intense heat and the parchment becomes white in colour
50% of the mucilage is removed
Beans are dried in conditions of low wind and medium sunlight
Beans are raked 3 to 4 times a day and dry for up to a week
80-90% of the mucilage remains on the bean
Beans are dried on raised beds in overcast or shaded conditions
Beans are raked on the first morning and then only once or twice in the afternoon
Mucilage is left as close to intact as possible
Beans are dried on raised bed in fully shaded conditions
Beans are not moved at all on the first day and are then raked once a day; drying time can take up to three weeks.
After drying, the coffee is transported in parchment to Beneficio El Carmen, where Agricola San Augustin prepares the coffee for export after 45 additional days of drying.