Farm info

Finca Santa Matilde is located in Concepcion de Ataco in the department of Ahuachapan in the Apaneca-Ilamatepec mountain range and coffee region of the same name. Farmers in Ahuachapan were the first to grow coffee in El Salvador with seeds brought from Guatemala in the last years of the 1700’s; production then began in earnest in the 1800’s.

Santa Matilde is currently owned by the fifth generation of coffee producers of the Ariz-Herrera family, making it one of the first farms in the Ataco region to grow specialty coffee beginning in the 1850’s. The family has been bringing sustainability, social responsibility, and employment to the communities around the farm for over 100 years. The Ariz-Herrera family is one of five local families who created FUNDATACO in 1991, a foundation that helps children from the region join soccer schools and pursue athletic opportunities and scholarships.

Coffee from Santa Matilde is partially processed at Germania, the small mill within the farm, which has depulpers, washing equipment, and drying facilities. Santa Matilde sun dries coffee on raised beds. The Natural process takes up to 25 days to reach the optimal humidity before being stored at the El Carmens warehouse, where Santa Matilde coffee is dry milled and prepped for export.

Some coffees are also dried on the clay patio at El Carmens. Coffee dries faster on this hot surface and Naturals take around 20 days to dry before being transferred to warehouse storage for the reposo resting period.

Santa Matilde has won much recognition for the quality of their coffees, including top placement in El Salvador Cup of Excellence in 2018 and 2019. Their passion for providing excellent coffees drives them to innovate and develop great coffees and sustainability with the community.

Region

Apaneca - Ilamatepec

The Apaneca-Ilamatepec mountain range runs through the Ahuachapan, Santa Ana, and Sonsonate departments of northwestern El Salvador near the border with Guatemala. It was from Guatemala that the first coffee seeds entered El Salvador in the late eighteenth century. From the mountains of Apaneca-Ilamatepec, coffee production then spread to other parts of the country.

The Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve was declared by UNESCO in 2007. This Biosphere Reserve includes forest plantations, coffee plantations, grassland, and crops. There are 12 species of endangered flora and 58 threatened species as well as 12 endemic species of birds and other animals.

The Reserve includes wetlands that provide freshwater for the country: Lake Coatepeque, the Laguna Verde and the Laguna Las Ninfas. These have aquatic vegetation ecosystems and aquifer replenishment areas due to current volcanic activity.

Almost 4,000 hectares are allocated to conservation as natural protected areas, and 39,500 hectares correspond to shade-grown coffee plantations that interconnect the core zones to enable a flow of flora and fauna and are thus a fundamental part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.