Farm: Dinastía Altamirano
Altitude: 1400 metres above sea level
Owner: Samuel Altamirano Juárez
Town / City: Zongolica
Samuel Altamirano Juárez COE #3 - Mexico
This very special Honey Bourbón lot placed 3rd at the 2019 Mexico Cup of Excellence Competition.
Coffee has been cultivated at Dinastía Altamirano for more than 130 years, with a rich history of passionate production spanning over six generations of farmers. Fertile soil, well-established shade trees and a wealth of handed-down knowledge, mean that the farm has developed into a stand out producer of top quality coffee.
Dinastía Altamirano takes its name from the rich heritage surrounding the farm. Samuel Altamirano, this year’s C of E finalist, inherited the farm initially from his father, Adan Altamirano Domínguez. Samuel decided to explore the farm's history and found that it had resided in his family since 1850, having first been acquired by José Estanislao Altamirano, Samuel’s great-great-great-granduncle! Samuel decided to name the farm ‘Dinastía Altamirano’, to honour his family ‘dynasty’ and to pay tribute to his ancestors.
When the farm was first acquired in 1850, Jose began by planting tobacco and cane sugar. It wasn’t until Don Leandro Altamirano took charge of the farm in 1879, that the first coffee tree was planted. Although coffee now forms the primary crop on the farm, seven hectares of land are still used to grow a rich variety of fruits and nuts including; lychee, guava, bananas, oranges, sweet & sour lemon trees, macadamia nuts and other wild fruits.
It is worth mentioning that the Altamirano family are no strangers to success at the Cup of Excellence. Dinastía Altamirano is part of a larger farm named El Estribo. In 2014, Samuel’s father, Adan, placed first at COE México with his washed mix of Bourbón, Típica and Caturra varieties.
Typically in the Veracruz region, the rainy season lasts from May until September, with the harvest season lasting from December until May; weather and temperature permitting of course. Samuel’s farm boasts a large variety of shade trees which he uses to protect and separate his crop. These include; Chalauite (Inga Vera – also known as ‘ice cream bean’), Ocozote (Liquidámbar styraciflua – also known as ‘American Sweetgum’), Oak, Ash, and Jonote (Helioscarpus donnellsmithii – a type of hibiscus tree). As well as a variety of shade trees, Samuel also lists a wealth of coffee varieties present at El Estribo and Dinastía Altamirano, including; Typica, Bourbón, Caturra, Sarchimor and Costa Rica. 2019 also marks the first season of geisha production at the farm. This is exciting for future Cup of Excellence competitions which have been dominated by the geisha varietal in recent years.
In terms of processing, Dinastía Altamirano is capable of producing washed, honey and natural coffees. However, Samuel notes that the process chosen is often dependent on the weather. Both the natural and honey process need to be dried daily to avoid bacteria and fungus impairing the quality of the bean. In comparison, washed coffees are better built to withstand one or two days in the warehouse while the rains pass, given the absence of the mucilage layer. This means that on occasion, Samuel may change his chosen process to save his high-quality cup.