Monday 22rd of May 2017, I got that chance. We sad down and talked for an hour about the history of Finca Vista Hermosa and how it all started with Felipe walking for days up the mountains in the far north part of Huehuetenango. It was an intense experience and I was overwhelmed by how impressing it was to hear his story. To hear 98 years old Felipe Martinez talk about how he started the farm more than 70 years ago was fascinating. The hard work, and strong believe in the project that he had put into the farm for so many years is nothing less than a humbling to understand.
That was a truly unique start of my week in Guatemala. (thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me Felipe).
This year I went later to visit Finca Vista Hermosa than I usually do. All the harvest was finished a few weeks ago and a little while before I arrived the first rains of the coming rainy season had started.
That also meant that the first flowering had happened in some places.
When walking around Finca Vista Hermosa, I saw a lot of semi dry coffee flowers as well as the buds that stays and turns into the cherry after the flower has dried off.
The rains had initiated new growth on the trees so lots of beautiful new light green leaves around.
Rainy season also means dirt roads that are flushed away. And here there are no public funded continuous restoration of the roads as we are used to in Denmark. Instead the local people work together in their community to restore the roads continuously during the rainy season. The people at Finca Vista Hermosa also helps in this and they had recently rebuild a small bridge that was falling apart. Its very normal that every house has a pair of shovels ready to get out and repair the road in front of them. I admire the initiative people here show to make sure things work around them as well as the communal responsibility they have to help each other out. That’s definitely something to learn from.
Over the days I had at Finca Vista Hermosa we managed to walk and drive around all of the Finca Vista Hermosa lots, and it sure looked a lot better than last time I was here two years ago. Back then it was just after the leaf rust had hit them hard and brought the total harvest down to depressing 40 bags. Back then they already had started to plant some new trees around. But now most of their lots has been replanted. They have replanted more than 20.000 trees. And while they some weeks ago expected to maybe loose half of them because of drought. Now the combination of the crew here manually watering each new plant every week and the start of the rainy season seems to have saved most of them.
Edwin Martinez and his crew has taken the opportunity to plant a lot of new varieties around including Caturra, Catuaí, Pache, Maragogype, Bourbon and Geisha. They have also started a serious garden with 18 different varieties and around 80-100 trees of each. Some of this might already be ready to harvest next year!
Eliseo who manages Finca Vista Hermosa and his colleague Mario estimated that from the flowerings next years the total crop of Finca Vista Hermosa will be around 200-300 bags. That will be a very good bump up from this years around 100 bags.
From this years harvest we will be buying 4 lots – MIchicoy and Edlyna, that has the traditional clean balanced cup of Finca Vista Hermosa with notes of dark chocolate and hazelnuts, The El Bosque lot that is more complex with fig-notes, and the more vibrant, acidic Vista Hermosa lot. Looking forward to get it home to present here in Denmark.