Finca Los Caballitos
The farm, known today as Los Cabaillitos, was originally acquired from the award-winning Finca La Perla. Coffee has been growing at La Perla since 1940 and the farm now produces over 7,000 quintiles of parchment each year. In 2007, brothers Oscar and Christian Schaps set their eyes on purchasing a farm to produce exceptional coffee for the speciality market. To others, this section of La Perla was seen as remote, undeveloped and un-inviting, but the Schaps brothers looked past these obstacles and recognised the potential of the land as a coffee-producing area. The Schaps’ bought 225 hectares, initially planting 45 hectares of Bourbon and the rest as Caturra. Since then, the Schaps brothers have also included the Marsella variety for the lowest parts of the farm, as well as recently beginning to plant some specialist geisha lots, such as this coffee. For the last 15 years, the Schaps brothers have managed their farm following the same mantra as handed down by their father; that ‘Farming is based on the symbiotic relationship between man and nature – as farming entrepreneurs, we must ensure that nature is respected for the contribution it provides ’.
Coffee has helped fuel Guatemala’s economy for over a hundred years. Today, an estimated 125,000 coffee producers drive Guatemala’s coffee industry and coffee remains one of Guatemala’s principal export products, accounting for 40% of all agricultural export revenue.
It is most likely that Jesuit missionaries introduced coffee to Guatemala, and there are accounts of coffee being grown in the country as early as mid-18th century. Nonetheless, as in neighbouring El Salvador, coffee only became an important export crop for the country at the advent of synthetic dyes and industrialisation of textiles – in the mid-19th century. Throughout the latter half of the 1800s, various government programs sought to promote coffee as a means to stimulate the economy, including a massive land privatisation program initiated by President Justo Rufino Barrias in 1871, which resulted in the creation of large coffee estates, many of which still produce some of Guatemala’s best coffees today.