Located near the Santiago de Maria region of El Salvador, high in the mountains of Cerro El Tigre lies the Finca Las Mercedes family of farms. Finca Las Mercedes has been passed down through five generations of the Ortiz family. Through their 125 year history, they have obtained a reputation as one of the elite producers in El Salvador. Lucia Ortiz manages the marketing and relationships for the farm. We have been working closely with her to make sure we can remain a strong partner for years to come. We have had coffee from three farms within the family of farms, Las Mercedes, La Avila and El Rubi.
Finca Las Mercedes has everything we look for in a Direct Trade farm. All of the processing is done directly on the farm. They go to great lengths to ensure that their coffee is as pure and clean as possible. After the coffee is harvested, it is brought to ceramic tiled tanks to be screened for defects, before being processed. They adhere to strict guidelines about which cherries are accepted, because cherries with questionable ripeness have an adverse effect on the quality of the cup. The Las Mercedes mill uses the wet process, although other farms within the family of farms use a variety of processing techniques including the semi-washed or honey process, and recently we experimented with using a “Double-Soak” process similar to a process used in Kenya.
Their dedication to sustainable practices, both environmentally and socially is commendable. Finca Las Mercedes continually gives back to their community, constructing and supplying a school, providing food for a nursing home and supporting the local soccer team. PT’s Coffee has pitched in with their efforts to help the community by providing medicines for the local clinic and soccer balls for the local team. The local clinic currently serves more than 10 communities that surround Las Mercedes.