The Argentina farm is based in the Apaneca-Ilamtepec mountain range, which is home to many of the farms we buy from in El Salvador, like La Ilusion and Alaska. The farm is split into 8 different plots, each with their own characteristics. This coffee is from the Los Mangos plot, named after the mango trees that are planted there.
It's about 10 manzanas (roughly 7 hectares) of land, and is a tricky part of the farm to work with. An erratic volcanic vent passes underneath this plot, and the temperature kills any plants growing in the soil. Like on the rest of the farm, it is mostly the bourbon variety that Alejandro grows on this plot, however he is experimenting with more disease resistant varieties after losing a great deal of the crop to leaf rust in 2014.
The two most exciting things that Alejandro has put in place over the last few years are the organic practices and employee welfare principles. Alejandro has been gradually converting to organic methods wherever possible, making his own fertiliser from waste products such as chicken litter and rock dust from a nearby quarry, and he’s even made his own natural insect repellent.
The farm employs 16 people full-time, however this increases to 50 during picking season. Alejandro ensures paid leave for all workers, as well as paying 10% above the minimum wage. Farmworker welfare and robust labour agreements are one of the key challenges facing the coffee industry in the future, and we’re delighted that Alejandro is leading the charge in this respect.
- Country: El Salvador
- Region: Apaneca-Ilamtepec
- Farm: Finca Argentina
- Farmer: Alejandro Martinez
- Altitude: 1,350 m.a.s.l.
- Variety: Bourbon
- Process: Washed