Raul Ochoa is the owner of Finca La Montana which is nested in the Chalatenango department, within the coffee region known as Alotepec-Metapan mountain range. La Montana farm is cultivated with Bourbón, Pacas and Pacamara varieties, grown under a canopy of shade trees. The farm altitude is 1,385 meters above sea level and coffee grows on very fertile clay loam soils under ecological-friendly cultural practices that include organic fertilization.
Raul inherited an uncultured land from his father many years ago, in 1986 he begun growing coffee with seeds bought in the extinct ISIC, the institute which was responsible to create the Pacamara hybrid from the cross between Red Maragogipe and local Pacas variety. At the beginning he was growing only Bourbón and Pacas, and as few as 3 1-pound bags of Pacamara seeds, it was not until 1999 that he did Pacamara nurseries again, taken from seeds selected from those earlier seeds that he recognized as Pacamara varietal.
La Montana has an average of 15 years-old coffee trees due to some replanting and new areas. Raul believed that Pacamara was great this year, due to size and even ripeness, thats why he chose that varietal to enter the Cup of Excellence. He also continued another strategy, to lower the amount of chemical fertilizers and start using more organic compost. This farm has nearly 3,900 coffee trees per hectare and some 50 shade trees per hectare. There are 1.75 ha grown with Pacamara, 1.4 ha grown to Bourbón and the remaining 2.45ha with Pacas.
Raul – 61 years old and father of five – gets help from one of them, Alexander who support him especially when the harvest approaches and the need of achieving perfect selection becomes more important to obtain the best quality. They explain their pickers about the program and emphasize the idea of picking only perfectly ripe cherries, but they also pay an extra 50% above the legal wage. The coffee lot that won was picked during 5 days; it was processed at Rene Aguilars mill which is a neighbor who owns a beneficio only 0.1 mile away from his farm. He does a really good job processing Pacamara, he already has calibrated his depulpers for the larger bean and we trust him. This coffee was naturally fermented during 12 hours and sun-dried in cement patios.
La Montana is the first farm coming from the Alotepec-Metapan Mountain Range that wins El Salvador s COE, it is also the first one to get the first place with Pacamara, and this is another reason for Raul to be really proud and happy for his farm and coffee. La Montana has been around COE event since 2004, and each year its coffee has been going nothing but up. In 2004, Alexander represented Raul and won 31st place with a Bourbón lot, in 2005 he repeated with 5th place with a Pacamara lot, in 2006, he joined forces with Jose Montiel, (who also won 4th place in 2007) and reached 3rd with a Pacamara lot from both farms, and finally this year, La Montana by itself reached the top spot as creme de la creme in El Salvador .
Raul is a great example of a small hardworking coffee grower; but he is more like an artisan, taking care of his trees with an admirable passion. His humbleness is amazing, I just want to keep working as hard as I can, and produce the best coffee to create a long-term relationship with a roaster that appreciates my coffee as much as I do he said. This is briefly the story of Raul, his farm and his celestial coffee Other Statistics:
Coffee varieties: Bourbón, Pacas & Pacamara
Type of Shade: Ingas, Cuje, Guachipilin, etc.
Average Annual Rainfall: 2,200 mm
Average Temperature: 16º C
Type of Soil: Clay loam
Annual Production: (60kg) 150 bags
Mill and company where lot was process: Rene Antonio Aguilars Parchment Mill
Other crops: Maize, Peaches, Vegetables
Fauna: Deer, Armadillos, Cotuza or Central American Agouti, raccoons, snakes, spiders, birds, etc.
Latitude: N 14º 17 12.65
Longitude: W 89º 7 26.38
|Farm Name||La Montaña|
|Farmer/Rep.||Raúl Ochoa Hernández|
|Size (30kg boxes)||20|
|Program||El Salvador 2007|
|Processing system||Washed , Sun, dried|
|Coffee Growing Area||5.6|
|High bidders||Cafe Imports, Terrior Coffee, Sweet Maria’s Coffee, 49th Parallel Roasters Inc., Paradise Roasters, Caffe Pronto, Barefoot Coffee Roasters, The Coffee Tree Roasters, Breaking New Grounds, PT’s Coffee|