Region: San Pedro Necta, Huehuetenango
Average altitude: 1675 masl
Farm size: 2.6 hectares
Wet mill: Small producers
Dry mill: Bella Vista
Coffee Varieties: Bourbon, Tequisik, Caturra, Villasarchí
Shade: Native trees, fruit trees, Ingas
Owner: Small producers
Managed by: Small producers
Outsourced: Byron Benavente
Harvest season: February- April (Peak: beginning of March)
Annual rainfall: 1000 mm
About San Jacinto
San Jacinto is located in San Pedro Necta, Huehuetenango and consists of three small producers: Jacinto Pérez Sánchez, Francisco Pérez Sánchez and Rudy Pérez Sánches. All three work with their coffees in a very clean and neat way. The area encompassing San Jacinto starts at 1650 and ends at 1700 masl. Varieties in this area consist of 70% Bourbon and the remaining 30% is a mixture of Caturra and Pache. The group have a late harvest due to the altitude, so the harvest season goes from the beginning of March to the end of April. There aree two rounds of picking and the coffee is handpicked and sorted by the members of the family, which also operates their own wet mill. The coffee is dried on their own patios.
Bella Vista is able to get these coffees with the help of Byron Benavente, who helps outsource coffee from the region San Jacinto is located. Byron has facilitated consulting for the group that helps to improve their agricultural management and processing at the wet mill.
About Bella Vista & Zelcafé
Luis Pedro Zelaya Zamora (LPZZ) is the fourth generation in his family to be working in the coffee business. The Zelaya family’s first farm was Carmona, followed by Bella Vista, which where the wet, dry mill facilities, and Zelcafé staff offices were later built and are currently located.
For many years, the family’s business focus was on commercial coffee production and export but in 2000, LPZZ began developing and changing Zelcafé’s focus into specialty coffee/microlots, with the support of some early clients. Over time Zelcafé has been able to successfully transition the business into solely focusing on specialty coffee. For the Zelaya family, their coffee endeavours are not only about business; their aim is to provide a good basis for generations of their family and community to come. With this in mind, they are constantly looking for ways to provide jobs to as many families in their communities as possible, as well as supplying the best quality coffee they can to their clients.
Partnerships & Services
The family has worked with small producers in Antigua since they first started coffee farming. New relationships almost always come from introductions from families already working with the Zelaya family, ensuring close and stable partnerships. In addition to buying cherries from farms, Bella Vista also manages estate farms that owners don’t want to sell but don’t know how manage themselves.
The Bella Vista team take care of all the planning, execution and monitoring of the resources each farm they own or manage have: human, technical, financial, and knowledge/training. In the case of the small producers that they buy cherries from, the team not only buy cherries at a premium, they also provide technical assistance and the financing of inputs. Bella Vista is constantly looking to improve its agricultural activities to reduce chemicals to a minimum and in turn share their scientific knowledge with other farms.
Sustainability & the Future
Bella Vista continuously encourages its workers to get proper education and in special cases, finances education for some of them. The facility also often offers workshops on different topics. The Zelaya family farms all have C.A.F.E Practices implemented and in the coming years the family will try to implement a WaSH project at one of their biggest farms.
Other future plans include research on water treatment and the building of treatment plants and hopefully, the construction of another greenhouse.