This is a republish of Christian’s visit to Finca La Torre, where our flagship Guatemala Acatenango is from. We also want to republish this post in memory of Neto Sr.
El's Note: Guatemala Acatenango is the coffee that makes the business. It is still our number one coffee in terms of how fast it goes relative to its availability. It is also the first cup of coffee that Christian made me when we first met back in 2016. For me, there is nothing but good memory drinking this coffee.
We always talk about "Beyond the Cup" at Blue Hummingbird Coffee. In this post, we want to venture into the birthplace of our beloved Acatenango La Torre Natural. This is a story of tradition, passion, and sustainability.
Journey to Finca La Torre
Finca La Torre is nestled in the middle of rolling hills and sharp inclines of the Acatenango Valley, just 60 miles from Guatemala City. This area is part of the rich agricultural land that shapes Guatemala's landscape.
Journeying to the farm, we navigate through cute but vibrant small towns, lively with the commerce from the fertile land. The CA-1 International Highway, the region's lifeline, has witnessed transformation as once quiet villages have blossomed into thriving towns. We also see avocado groves among the lush coffee plantations. Most incredibly, we see the colorful locals' attire paired with children's laughter as they play in the streets.
Once we are close to Finca La Torre, Ernesto — affectionately known as Neto to friends and family — extends a warm welcome in Paraxaj, a small village where the journey continues. From this point, only all-wheel drives vehicle, horses, or mules can navigate the dirt paths leading to the farm.
Arriving at the farm, the majestic Acatenango volcano looms in the background. We see its crater surrounded by clouds. Though it looks tranquil, the volcano's presence is a powerful force, enriching the soil with minerals with its occasional ash fall.
The heart of the farm is a beautiful garden, where the bounty of Hass avocado trees shades a cozy hammock. The garden is also surrounded by coffee plants, flowers, and fruits that paint a serene landscape.
Neto eagerly shares the farm's stories over slices of pizza. We then tour the farm's beauty and sip the family reserve coffee, brewed with a Chemex.
The Farm and Family Legacy
The Perez lineage, coffee family for seven generations, have safeguarded this land since the 17th century. Their home is a living museum with family heirlooms and memories all over its walls.
Our conversation reveals the wisdom of sustainable farming, where centuries-old best practice meets modern agronomy. For example, agronomy meets ecology as tropical sheeps wander through the plantation, naturally curbing weeds and enriching the soil, while water from mountain springs nourishing the coffee plants.
They cherish every parcel of land, where many cultivars of Arabica grow and fruit trees (and the birds that come with them) offer a protective canopy, contributing to the farm's biodiversity.
Our visit ends with a cup of coffee, the product of the land's labor.
Join us as we celebrate this journey, the people, the land, and the life at Finca La Torre.