Chalatenango, El Salvador, is known for having soil conditions favorable for coffee production and yielding high-quality coffee. German Yovani Ochoa runs an about 0.5 hectare coffee farm in this region.
German, who has been in the business for around 10 years, sold his green coffee to CaféNor in 2022 for the first time. For German, who had sold his coffee under no brand until recently, this is the first chance to promote his own name.
“It feels like I’ve opened a door to a new world. I’m curious to see where my coffee will go and who will like it.”
German is a son of a coffee producer. He started coffee production on a plot he received from his father.
“My father used to tell me, ‘If you want to study, go do it. I will support you. If you don’t, start working.’ I hated studying. So it was an easy decision. After all, there is no alternative source of income in our region. But growing up in such a family, it also felt like the fate I was born into. My farm is a legacy I inherited from my parents.”
This path wasn’t necessarily something he was willing to choose. But soon, he realized the fun of the job.
“I sow seeds, and they will sprout and leaf out, eventually growing large enough to be called a tree before flowering and bearing fruits. I even feel emotional when I watch coffee trees grow. It’s also motivating to have more production quantities each year.
Everything you do comes back to you as a result. That’s the real delight of this job. I always think about what I can do to improve quality and pay attention to coffee all the time. I’m just doing what I love. So I don’t feel a sense of obligation. I go about work in a stable state of mind.
That said, I do feel a sense of tension all the time. We need to be particularly careful about coffee rust. In the worst case, it could ruin all the work we have done. To reduce the risk, we fertilize the soil and leaves while trying to minimize the stress on trees.”
As part of efforts to improve quality, German started using dry beds in around 2017 to shield coffee from rain. He also asks coffee pickers to exercise extra care when picking cherries, a request he accompanies with higher pay.
“All the efforts and hard work stem from my desire to sell my coffee for as much as possible. My favorite season is harvesting because I can see the culmination of a year of labor. I know that if I make an effort in each step, it translates into the final price. So it naturally gives me an urge to work harder.
I want to take part in the Cup of Excellence in the future. It can be a chance to expand a market for my coffee. Maybe I can also find someone who buys directly from me. If I can meet someone like that, it will further push me to work hard. It’s exciting just to imagine that there are people waiting for my coffee.”
“Los Guachipilines” – German’s farm – is a temporary name. “The farm has many Guachipilin trees. So I call it ‘Los Guachipilines,’” he says. When he opens yet another new door, maybe he will need a new name for his farm.