Finca Nueva Armenia
Visiting Guatemala Finca Nueva Armenia was eye opening to the potentials of environmentally conscious coffee farming. Jorge & Javier Recinos, both environmental engineers were amazing hosts and walked us through their entire facility.
Among many features of the farm we had the opportunity to see their nursery, where they experiment with coffee varieties. Discovering the differences, especially from a growing perspective, in coffee plant varieties is becoming more and more important in the specialty coffee community.
We spent a lot of time looking up at this farm because unlike many coffee farms in the region Finca Nueva Armenia tends to their canopy trees just as much as they do their coffee trees. The canopy maintains natural habitat for many animals and even other plants of the region, and provides necessary shade for the precious coffee trees below.
One feature that impressed me most was learning about the Tillandsia plants that grew in the canopy. These plants have interested me since they became a big hit among house plant enthusiast. They’re also known as air plants. They grow in clumps in the canopy trees, without rooting into soil. One major benefit of these plants is that they help to purify air.
The washing facility at Nueva Armenia is also incredibly inventive and uses the physical land as an engineering resource to help increase efficiency. The coffee cherries are held in tanks to loosen up the skin and mucilage and then shot down a hill through a long snaking cement trough to remove the fruit. It was amazing to see how they utilized the power of gravity at this farm, which relieved the farmers from excess labor.
Our trip to this farm opened our eyes to the lifecycle of coffee and broadened our knowledge of how to be environmentally conscious while growing top quality coffee. We are happy to call 2016 year four in our direct trade relationship with Finca Nueva Armenia.