Maria Zelaya, the third generation of Zelayas, managed Hacienda Carmona from 1959 until she turned 81. She used the same love and passion her father and grandfather used in the previous decades to create a truly magnificent coffee plantation. Maria passed Hacienda Carmona down to her nephews, Ricardo Zelaya, and Luis Pedro Zelaya who now manage the plantation harnessing the same dedication she exuded onto the coffee trees. This specific lot is named Pulcal.
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.