Aurelio Villatoro

Finca La Esperanza, Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Heleodoro de Jesus Villatoro Lopez founded Finca La Esperanza, nestled above a small village in northeast Guatemala in 1956. In order to earn money to purchase the farm, Heleodoro worked for several years buying and transporting coffee. When the farm was founded, the nearest wet mill was 12-14 hours away and was only accessible by mule. When developing his farm, Heleodoro made it a priority to build a wet mill on site as well as create a dirt road to the mill, connecting over 2,000 people in the community to the nearest paved road.

He and his wife Helena had soon created the village of Hoja Blanca, where their family continues to cultivate and harvest the delicious coffees of Finca La Esperanza, featuring several varieties and processing methods. This farm is now managed by their son, Aurelio Villatoro. This farm has an extraordinarily inclusive and innovative culture: each of Heleodoro and Helena’s twelve children brings their own specialized skill to the farm, from agronomy to forest ecology to auto mechanics. Pickers are actively engaged in improving farm practices and the lives of their own families. Many of them have their own small farms, so knowledge and resources are shared.

The cherries on this farm are harvested by hand and stored in the shade to prevent degradation. They are put through a depulping machine no more than six hours after being picked, and the de-pulped beans are fermented for 24 to 36 hours and then washed and sun-dried on patios that also serve as the roofs of the family’s homes. We love working with this farm, and they even welcome members of our barista team for a visit each year.

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