Twenty years ago, our friends Sergio and Isabel Ticas began production on Finca Los Planes in the mountainous region of Chalatenango, El Salvador. Coming from Chalatenango, Sergio was not expected to produce a remarkable coffee. And yet, just six years later, Sergio collected his plaque for 2nd Place in the 2006 El Salvador Cup of Excellence competition. This award, and his remarkable coffee, helped catapult this “no-name” region of El Salvador into a star in the coffee-growing world.
On our first visit it was clear to us their commitment to quality and sustainable practices is top priority. They have been engaged in multiple sustainability initiatives over the last few years. Most recently, Finca Los Planes installed a new water recovery system to protect the water supply and purify the water before being released back into the ecosystem.
We met Sergio and Isabel following their 2nd place finish. Jeff and Sergio quickly became good friends that followed a direct trade relationship for more than a decade. During that first visit, we were immensely impressed by Sergio’s use of the money from the Cup of Excellence competition to improve the mill on-site at the farm, thereby improving the processing of future harvests. This showed us their commitment and dedication to quality and constant improvement.
Recently we roasted a washed Pacamara from the Los Tamales region of the farm and this particular lot has a unique backstory: Many years ago, late at night, banditos came to the farm and stole livestock from Los Planes. The following morning, the farmers at that time went to look for their cattle high on the farm. Instead of finding the cattle, they stumbled upon a makeshift campsite with a washed-out fire and tamale wrappers scattered out on the ground. From that day on, this section of Los Planes has been referred to as Cerro Los Tamales, representing the cattle that were lost on that night.