Farm: Finca La Maravilla
Varietal: 100% San Ramon
Processing: Fully washed & sun dried
Altitude: 1,700 metres above sea level
Owner: Mauricio Rosales Vásquez
Town / City: La Libertad
Maravilla La Cumbre - Guatemala
This particular “La Cumbre” microlot comes from parcel of land situated at the very highest altitudes of Finca Maravilla. San Ramon is an offshoot of Typica that was originally discovered in Brazil. It is a hearty plant that does well in cooler, more windy climates.
Finca La Maravilla is situated in the high mountains surrounding the town of La Libertad in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. In 1997, starting with only Arabica coffee plants, Mauricio Rosales and his father Guillermo Rosales purchased a piece of land here of about 21.84 hectares. Near the village of Los Arroyos, through the dismantled farm El Injerto II, the land was accessible only by foot or on horse, had no structures, and had no electricity. With scarce economic resources but with great effort and hope - and motivated by fellow coffee growers of Huehuetenango – father and son began to work tirelessly. Mr. Guillermo took on most agricultural roles, while his son Mauricio took a more administrative role.
They began their first sowing in July 1997 on only 1.21 hectares, using seedlings donated by Mr. Octavio Alfaro and Mr. Hugo William Avila Diaz. 2500 additional plants were then bought from Finca El Injerto II. These seedlings were transported by mules, as were other supplies, such as the materials required for building two wooden homes on the land for the field foreman and for Sr. Guillermo Rosales.
After 1997 La Maravilla continued to grow by 2.5 hectares a year, establishing master trees on the farm with Bourbon seeds coming from the farm El Injerto I and Caturra seeds coming from the region of El Pajal, San Antonio Huista.
Meanwhile, foundations for the first drying patio were laid and depulping equipment to process 2000’s harvest was purchased. Considering the pressing need to prepare for future harvests, Sr. Guillermo proposed cutting a road for four-wheel-drive vehicles, a project that received ready support from farm workers, neighbouring producers and the wider Los Arroyos community. With pickaxes, hoes, and shovels on hand – not to mention tremendous determination - workers began opening the road in 2001. In 2002, the first four-wheel-drive vehicle ascended the road to the centre of the farm.
Despite the difficult years due to the drop in coffee prices, the goals and purpose of La Maravilla project remained undiminished. This was in part due to the passion and faith that the producers put into coffee production. In 2004, La Maravilla expanded after a connected piece of land of 3.27 hectares was purchased. Throughout the years, father and son shared much farm work and great experiences including the 2004/2005 harvest. On April 2, 2005, Mr. Guillermo Rosales passed away at the age of 82. He left this world with the great satisfaction of having planted the seeds, cared for the plants, and thus, having created the foundations for a coffee of excellent quality: coffee that will be drunk by the most passionate coffee lovers in the world.
In 2008, Finca La Maravilla began constructing a more spacious locale for coffee processing and equipping machinery with the capacity to process the farm’s total harvest, including sediment tanks with trenches/pits to treat waste water. On the patios, Mauricio is constructing a tinted plastic canopy to protect the coffee from the abrupt change in temperature for the cool washing tanks to the hot patio to provide gentler drying from the end of this season onwards. Impacts are already being seen – La Maravilla won 9th place in 2014’s Guatemala cup of Excellence and has started separating their coffee into microlots to highlight the different flavour profiles that the farm’s microclimates have to offer. With no mains electricity supply, the farms relies on a generator so the plans to extend operations is a huge undertaking and Mauricio is committed to making it work.
The farm is planted mostly under Caturra and Bourbon and is made up of 5 or 6 distinct plots or around 7 to 8 hectares each – El Aguacate, El Mezcal, La Peña, Los Arroyos and the highest part of the farm known as La Cumbre planted with San Ramon varietal which is able to resist the winds and cooler temperatures.
Mauricio has recently begun extending his many years of knowledge to the 30 or so neighbouring small farms to help them bring up their quality and increase values for their owners and workers.