Green - Unroasted Coffee
Mauricio Vilchez was born and raised in Ocotal and came from a farming family. In 1998, Mauricio and his friends decided to create a coffee farm in the mountains of the Sierra Dipilto- Jalapa on the Honduran –Nicaraguan frontier, north of the district of Mozonte, altitude 1560 – 1620 msnm. While a student at UCATSE (Agriculture University), he began buying the land, piece by piece in an area reached only on foot. In 1999, Mauricio began building seed beds for the coffee seedlings. By the end of the year, he was able to move seedlings to transportable bags. By the year 2000 he was transferring those trees to the first coffee lots. In 2003 he built a small processing plant and began to plant Calas Lillies in the creek beds.
In 2006 Mauricio began working with Luis Alberto Balladarez in dry coffee processing. That year, they won fourth place in the national quality competition – the Taza de Excelencia, and in 2008 they finally won first place. They also replaced the original small house which by now includes dorms, multiple latrines, kitchen , t.v. and dining room for our workers. The majority of the labor comes from the mountain community of Cayantú, people who have been faithful to Mauricio since the beginning.
In 2007 the road finally reached the farm, so they no longer carried everything up and down the mountain (crops, fertilizer, equipment, construction materials). They built the existing wet processing plant and the first water filter plant, since improved by methodologies that use less water and improved filtering wells. They began making fertilizer with worm culture. During harvest the workers bring beans to the plant where their personal harvest is sorted for quality and they are paid accordingly. Beans are then washed in quality lots, then moved to drying nets where they are constantly selected for quality as they sun dry. This latter process is extremely tedious and costly in labor, but primary if one wishes to sell specialty coffee. Then, they are transported to the dry processing plant of Luis Alberto Balladarez in the city.
In 2009-2013 Mauricio and the team began using methodologies to extract high quality coffee which is the present focus of the farm. At a thousand six hundred meters, it averages eighteen degrees centigrade, it produces high mountain coffee. They pick only ripe beans and select carefully during solar drying for coffee exportation. Our yield is approximately twenty quintales per manzana, affected for example by application of fertilizer according to soil evaluations by lot. They constantly investigate the manipulation of shade and sun, and testing different varieties of beans, factors of considerable importance for high mountain coffee. They're also installing green barriers to control erosion as the lots age. Lots are renovated every twelve years. All cleaning is done by hand with no herbicide, insisting that root systems of ground cover remain intact to re-mediate erosion on steep lots. Ground cover also serves as enrichment when they use nitrogen fixing ground cover.
It has been their intention since beginning the farm to maintain a reasonable balance between forest and planted land. Currently, Mauricio employed 50 pickers during the harvest and 15 permanent workers who are responsible for the work on the farm throughout the year.
For 2014 his goal is to plant a new manzana and replant using red Catuai variety.