Guatemala Santa Ana La HuertaRony Asencio and his family have been growing coffee at Finca Santa Ana La Huerta since 1990. The farm sits high in the Sierra de Las Minas mountain range, in Guatemala’s eastern highlands. This lush, rain-drenched region contains some of Central America’s largest cloud forests and much of the area was declared a biosphere reserve in 1990. The region’s diverse habitats are estimated to contain some 70% of all bird and animal species found in Guatemala and Belize, including several threatened birds.
Rony’s family is originally from the hallowed coffee ground of Antigua. He grew up around coffee and his father was, himself, a coffee farmer. However, when only a young lad, Rony’s dad sadly passed away, and the farm was sold. Rony knew one day he would return to coffee. However, by the time he was old enough, many farmers in the region were, themselves, selling up to developers, who were offering far more money for land near the colonial town than they could earn by farming coffee. Antigua was out; the search was on.
Rony eventually found a reasonably sized farm near the Sierra de Las Minas national reservoir, at an altitude of 1,370 to 1,820 metres above sea level. Taking advice from his father in law, legendary Antigua farmer Luis Pedro Zelaya, he set about planting the farm with Caturra, Bourbon and Catimor trees.
A great deal of effort is put into maintaining the farm according to the most stringent cultivation practices, and equal effort is shown with regards to processing. All coffee at the farm is handpicked only when fully ripe. Afterwards the coffee is pulped, fermented for around 14-16 hours (depending on the temperature at the time) and fully washed. The coffee is then delivered to dry on the farm’s pristine patios or in Rony’s new parabolic dryer.
The farm’s location, its rich soils and its natural springs, which flow down from the surrounding mountains, create ideal conditions for growing high quality Arabica coffee.
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