Just above the village of Hoja Blanca is Finca Los Encinos, a farm named for the old oak trees which once populated the area. At seventy seven years old, Don Federico himself is an oak of sorts, a stalwart source of wisdom gained over his nearly sixty years cultivating coffee. It took more than thirty years working in coffee before he was able to buy his own land, and it was four years after planting that he enjoyed his first harvest. This first lot was in Agua Dulce, and while he still has land in that area, Don Federico moved to Hoja Blanca about twenty years ago because he loved the micro-climate for growing coffee, and he still works the land to this day.
The Caturra, Bourbon, and Villa Sarchi trees grown on the family's lots are healthy and vibrant, producing around 280 quintales harvest per year. Don Federico is very particular about only red, ripe cherries being picked, and takes the same firm approach to his patio drying times. His wet mill has recently been renovated, and he continues to learn -- in 2016, for example, he began studying soils to find more natural and sustainable fertilizers. His nine children have their own lots in addition to supporting the Los Encinos harvest.
Geography: Region Huehuetenango
Altitude: 1750 MASL
Producers: Fredrico Vásquez and family
Variety: Caturra, Bourbon, and Villa Sarchi
Harvest time: January-February