In this article, we invite you to meet the Escalante family, owners of the farm “Peña Blanca” located in the Frailesca region – Chiapas. Last year, Alexis and his mother Adelina sold several specialty micro-lots through Cari Coffee. Here we will share the history of the farm and Alexis’ projects, a producer of the new generation.
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Peña Blanca is a 10-hectare farm near Nueva Independencia town at an altitude of 1,550 meters above sea level. Alexis began – at the age of 15 – to take care of the plot acquired by his paternal grandfather Eredin Velazquez Lopez 20 years ago. Coffee prices at that time were very low, so his father Omar Velazquez emigrated to the United States to find a job and send money to his family.
Alexis recalls that as a child he used to follow his father and grandfather to the farm. He enjoyed the environment as well as the whole process during the coffee harvest. Unfortunately, when Alexis was 17 years old his grandfather passed away and he was left in charge of the farm, alone. He finished high school and went on to university to study civil engineering. Alexis has never lost his love for coffee as it has been a family heritage and tradition.
Thanks to coffee, Alexis has been able to financially support his mother and his two sisters, who also went to college thanks to the revenues of the farm: her older sister will graduate this year with a bachelor’s degree in nursing and her younger sister is studying environmental engineering.
Thanks to coffee, Alexis has been able to financially support his mother and his two sisters, who also went to college thanks to the revenues of the farm.
Over the years, the maximum production on the farm was 110 quintals. When the rust disease came to Mexico, Alexis sought technical assistance from the local SMS team. The technician recommended the application of Dolomite Lime and pruning. When the need came to renew the farm with new varieties, Alexis divided his plot and focused on one half (5 ha). The following harvest he managed to raise 70 QQ and with the same technical assistance, he applied nutrients to the plants, in addition to renewing with the seedling donation from C.A.F.E. Practices.
Two years after the rust Alexis was very excited to raise 150 QQ (+136%). The main variety planted was Marsellesa with very favorable results, it raised its productivity to 370 QQ in the 2018-2019 crop (+336%) and 430 QQ last year (+390%)!
Over the years, Alexis focused the investments on remodeling the infrastructure of his farm: the main house, the workers’ dormitories and especially his wet mill, in order to improve the quality of his coffee. His mill has a two-disc pulper to speed up the process, 4 fermentation tanks and a well for the water resulting from the milling process.
The greatest experience Alexis has had is knowing the quality he gets. He had never tasted his own coffee until last year when Cari Coffee organized a cupping workshop of coffees from producers of the area. With the sale of his microlots and the premiums received, he was able to make an investment he had longed for many years, which was to build his drying patio that he is using for the first time this year!
Alexis mentions that he is experimenting new processes of anaerobic fermentation and greenhouse drying to achieve a better cup score, moving away from traditional washed processes.
He had never tasted his own coffee until last year when Cari Coffee organized a cupping workshop of coffees from producers of the area.
Feel free to order a sample of his coffee here!