Arturo Aguirre, a 3rd generation coffee farmer, owns and operates the farm with his son, Arturo Jr. They run the farm with dedication to sustaining a coffee farming community and a meticulous approach to processing the highest quality coffee in Guatemala. The relationship between Stumptown and Finca El Injerto is one of our strongest and longest. The efforts of the Aguirre family, combined with our own, have improved the coffee year after year.
Mr. Jesus Aguirre Panama acquired the land in 1874 and planted corn, beans, tobacco, and sugarcane. In 1900, he planted coffee and named the farm ‘El Injerto’ after a native fruit that is similar to Zapote fruit and found only in this region. Three generations and over 100 years later, El Injerto has 245 hectares planted with coffee: 70% Bourbon, with the remaining mixed between Catuai, Maragogype, Pacamara, Tekisic, Mocca and Gesha varieties.
Arturo Jr. is working on some new projects which will greatly improve fermentation including building an additional fermentation tank, finishing tiling the entire washing area and tiling all of the tanks. Arturo Jr. conveys a huge sense of pride about their social programs. The family built new housing for their year round workers with the funds from their auction. Eight of the ten families received new homes. They built a new clinic, maintenance room and four newly installed showers and bathrooms for workers. The clinic has been a mainstay at El Injerto for years with a physician who visits every 15 days from the nearby town of La Democracia. They built a playground and nursery for the pickers’ kids, which will enable the pickers to have their children supervised and provide activities during harvest. Injerto also pays twice the hourly wage as their neighbors. An expectation of higher scrutiny in all things concerned with harvesting and processing comes with the higher wage. Some workers have found it too demanding, but this is what sets Injerto apart.
Since 1905, Finca El Injerto has produced exceptional coffee with a commitment to respecting and preserving the natural resources of the Huehuetenango region. More than half of Finca El Injerto is a thousand year old virgin forest that surrounds and protects the coffee plantation, preserving the delicate micro-climate required to grow exquisite Arabica coffee.
The Aguirres protect the quality of the land through sustainable agricultural methods. They use coffee parchment for fuel in the mechanical dryers. Water used in wet milling is filtered in ponds before returning to the rivers to avoid pollution downstream. Native species are replanted in reforestation efforts. They focus on the coffee plant’s tissue management system without the use of fungicides, herbicides or insecticides. They manage weeds by machete and apply calcium to their plants. In order to assess the appropriate nutritional supplements for the plants, soil and leaf analysis takes place annually. Worm culture technology breaks down the coffee cherry skin to produce lombricompost which becomes a fertilizer at the nursery and the final plantings. Shade trees are planted throughout the farm to promote air circulation and control the amount of sunlight received by the plants. El Injerto also has many social projects which promote the well-being and health of the workers and their families.
Arturo Sr. and Jr. ensure perfect cherry selection and utilize cherry flotation to sort by density. Disc depulpers remove the cherry prior to extended fermentation which can last up to 72 hours due to the cold typical of this altitude. The coffee is then double washed and soaked. Patio pre-drying prepares the beans for a final low temperature drum drying. In order to better understand the coffee and all the nuances within their production, they have a cupping lab at the farm with four trained cuppers.
La Cima is a gorgeous lot cultivated at 1650 meters above sea level on the Capadocia section in the Northwest portion of Finca El Injerto. This section of the farm gets a tremendous amount of rainfall throughout the year, (averaging 64”) and lots of sun which provides an excellent climate for coffee trees. La Cima is comprised entirely of Bourbon variety trees planted 25 years ago which produce a cup profile laden with bright, tropical fruit flavors. The Aguirre’s sent their finest pickers to select cherry at the height of the harvest season. After it was depulped, this lot was fermented for 72 hours in perfectly clean conditions where they moved the beans after each stage for uniform fermentation. The lot was washed and soaked for 24 hours, taken to the patios and then dried in the sun. La Cima is the quintessential expression of the Bourbon variety, the La Libertad region of Huehuetenango and Finca El Injerto itself.
La Calaca – Gesha
After a long, much anticipated wait, we have another opportunity to savor Gesha from Finca El Injerto! Our own Duane Sorenson brought Gesha seeds to Arturo Aguirre Jr. years ago. Later in the same year, Arturo Sr. traveled to Hacienda La Esmeralda in Panama and brought some more seeds directly from the Petersons. Stumptown proudly purchased the entire lot of Central American Gesha at Finca El Injerto’s Reserva del Comendador, an online auction that features the farm’s unique micro lots.
2013 is only the third year of harvest for this exquisite coffee. The staff at El Injerto is learning about the nuances of Gesha by constantly checking the crop throughout the growing season to see how it behaves and reacts within the microclimate in order to make important decisions about the tissue management. Each variety reacts differently from climate to climate, so it takes education, observation, and detailed management in order to perfect a particular variety.
The Gesha seeds were planted in 2008 in the region of the farm called La Calaca. La Calaca translates as ‘the skull’. According to the people of the village, this area in the northwest part of the farm used to be where witches of the towns held rituals. They have even found animal skulls to offer as proof of their story. Seven different varieties are cultivated on the 12 hectare area of La Calaca. Workers of the farm believe they have transformed the rituals of those long ago witches into a good spell. They believe the coffee cultivated here will bewitch any who dares to drink it.
This tiny lot of Gesha was treated with utmost care and detail. The Aguirre’s sent their finest pickers to select these cherries at the height of the harvest season. After depulping, this lot was fermented for 72 hours in perfectly clean conditions, moving the beans after each stage for uniform fermentation. The lot was then washed and soaked for 24 hours then taken to the patios where it was dried in the sun. They sorted this lot by hand twice, once during the parchment stage and then again just prior to export at the green bean stage. This is an extremely limited lot.
Finca El Injerto constantly tests new ideas and improves systems. This year they installed a pre-pulp separator to further minimize pulp contamination during fermentation, worked on improvements to the mechanical dryers and conducted experiments in overripe vs. ripe cherry selection in blind cuppings in search of an ideally balanced sweetness. We were a bit surprised to discover that coffee cherry that were almost burgundy to black, versus the traditional red, ripe cherry, provided a higher level of sweetness in the cup. Also, the Aquirres have continued to renovate employee housing.
Harvest season spans the months from January through April.