Randolfo alberto Llanes - el por venir
Finca El Porvenir covers multiple hillsides on a small stretch of land in the far north of Nicaragua, only a stone’s throw away from Honduras. The plantation has its own water source which spawns a small stream through the farm which supplies all water for the wet mill and where farm workers refresh after a day of challenging the steep hillsides. Varietals are allocated according to the most suitable altitude and shadow is regulated using plantain trees; which also brings in additional income. At this farm everything is thought through and little is left to chance. The owner, Randolfo Alberto Llanes Lopez, is a proud producer and the fifteenth place in the 2015 Cup of Excellence fuels his pride and passion.
Don Randolfo is not shy to share his views, visions and concerns, he is a real talker. From the moment he joined us in the pick-up on the way to his farm El Porvenir we begun a never-ending dialogue. He proudly tells about building the farm from scratch 18 years ago and the many developments it has gone through. Randolfo isn’t shy of the camera either and asked me to take a picture of the recently installed water tap, which, at first, I found rather odd. It was only later, however, that I realized that something seemingly so basic can be such a luxury in the basic life at a finca.
The farmer comes across as intelligent and determined; he sure knows what he is doing. He explains that the coffee industry is unimaginably risky for producers when there are so many external factors influencing one’s livelihood such as ‘La Bolsa’, the New York stock exchange, which sets commodity coffee prices. Therefore Randolfo invested in cattle and corn which provide more financial stability.
Nevertheless, coffee is where his passion is to be found. Since Randolfo switched to specialty coffee his passion has only grown and it also did something even more impressive: it sparked a new hope. For the first time in 18 years he has some breathing space and financial security. His vision is clear: ‘crecer y mejorar’ to grow and improve. Randolfo switched to producing specialty coffee 4 years ago with an increased focus on selective cherry picking, careful fermentation and separating different varietals. Quality rose and he was no longer dependent on the C-price but paid based on quality instead. He understand the importance of altitude and is always on the lookout for lots higher up, there already is new caturra growing in the excellent nursery for a recently acquired lot close to the current plantation.
My visit to El por Venir has led to a very important revelation: passion. I know quite some super-passionate baristas, coffee roasters and countless coffee aficionados. I never imagined this uniting coffee-passion starts where it all starts: at the farm. Not only coffee beans go from crop to cup; passion goes along with it.
La Laguna #2, Dipilto, Nueva Segovia
1350 meters above sea level
Catuaí, Caturra, Maracaturra