After being many years an employee of a very well-known coffee farmer and miller in Usulutan, Jose Armando Zepeda became captivated with the cultivation of coffee and in 1978 made the decision to buy a 28 hectares piece of land on the top of the mountain in Tecapa, Usulutan. During the civil war, the area was difficult to access and Zepeda gave his farm the name El Optimismo or Optimism, looking to baptize his project with a sense of positivism and hope.
Although he achieved the dream of owning his own farm, the civil conflict of the 1980s affected the continuity of his work and made it nearly impossible to visit the property due to continuous threats and armed conflict in the zone. Even as the war drew to a close, it was still difficult to supervise the property and the area remained relatively unsafe as delinquency grew. In the 1990s, Don Jose Armando passed the farm on to his wife, Lucia.
Less than ten years ago the Zepeda family, under the leadership of Patricia, the eldest daughter of the four children of Jose Armando and Socorro, decided to revive the semi-abandoned property replanting a 16.1 hectare area.
Having a strong commitment to quality, the family decided to participate in the Cup of Excellence. They selected an area of 1.75 hectares grown to Bourbón and known as the house plan. They personally trained over 80 pickers in the process of harvesting in order to assure that each cherry would be picked at its peak ripeness.
Patricia Zepeda embodies the name of the farm in all that she does. After all of her hard work and her meticulous eye for quality she was sure that El Optimismo would be one of the winners of the Cup of Excellence. The system implemented in the harvest phase has become a permanent fixture; it is representative of an unwavering commitment to quality. Patricia feels incredibly proud of the success and credits her parents for all of their contributionsAlthough they may have won the Cup of Excellence the Zepeda family continually seeks out ways to differentiate their product through certification processes. They are currently in the process of executing projects in order to comply with Starbucks Coffee Practices. This certification combines social and environmental components meant to benefit the farm workers and the surrounding area. The farm already has running water and bathrooms as well as living quarters for its employees.
The future holds many things but the Zepeda family would like to continue to participate in the Cup of Excellence and to try to improve the quality of the coffee. The family would like to increase productivity and finally reclaim the rest of the farm. They have a dream that one day the farm will become an ecotourism hot spot.
Coffee varieties: Bourbón & Pacas
Type of Shade: Pepeto, Pine, Guachipilin, avocado, chaperno, cedar and other native trees
Average Annual Rainfall: 2,000 mm
Average Temperature: 19º C
Type of Soil: Sand loam
Annual Production: (60kg) 250 bags
Mill and company where lot was process: Beneficio Oromontique, Unex S.A. de C.V.Other area: 1.9 ha, natural forest
Fauna: Deer, Armadillo, Central American Agouti, clay colored robin, emerald toucan, fox, hawk, raccoon, etc.
Latitude: N 13º 29 44.6
Longitude: W 88º 30 19.9
|Farm Name||El Optimismo|
|Farmer/Rep.||Lucia Martinez de Zepeda|
|Size (30kg boxes)||15|
|Program||El Salvador 2007|
|Coffee Growing Area||16.1|
|High bidders||Russian Coffee Company Ltd for SFT Trading Ltd.|