Victor Calderon represents the 5th generation of coffee farmers from a family that has been in coffee for more than 100 years; El Tambor, however, is a relatively new addition to the rich mosaic of farms dotting this region of Guatemala, just outside of Guatemala City. Founded as a cattle farm in the 1930s,ElTambor’s previous owner had converted the farm’s steepest,highest slopes to coffee during the 1960s.
However, as price volatility worsened during the late 1980s and early 1990s, he ceased to focus on coffee farming and instead granted mineral rights to a mining company, whichbegan speculatively mining in various locations within the farm’s 700 hectares.
Throughout the 1990s, the farm was slowly abandoned apart from these exploratory excavations –that is, until Victor took control of the land. Victor bought the farmat the beginning of 2001 with the aim of moving out of Robusta cultivation (in which his family had previously specialised) and into Arabica.
The bottomwas fallingout of the Robusta market at the time, and while Arabica wasn’tparticularly stableeither, he had a dream of finding a farm that lay at 1,500 metres or above so that he could specialisein high-quality, speciality Arabica production.
He was so committed to this vision that he sold hishouse and car in exchange for El Tambor, and upon signing the documents immediately set about renovating the coffee plots, expanding areas under coffee and improving the farm’s small wet mill.
However, Victor is a true iconoclast when it comes to coffee farming and refuses to accept conventional wisdom or accepted practices in farming. Nowhere is this more apparent than his approach to controlling coffee leafrust on his farm.
When coffee leaf rust became truly apparent on El Tambor, Victor was concerned about using the chemically based fungicides widely recommended in Guatemala. Realising that fungi favour acidicenvironments, he hadtried several alkaline solutions to apply the plants –everything from lemonade to orange juice –looking for one that worked. In his research, he read that clay –particularly from volcanic regions –is very alkaline, and his thoughts returned to El Tambor’s brief mining history.
Prizes: #7 Guatemala Cup of Excellence-2010#17 Guatemala Cup of Excellence-2015#25 Guatemala Cup of Excellence-2017
Tasting Notes -
Black cherry, Mango, Cream soda, Dark chocolate Flavour
|Farm||Finca El Tambor|
|Altitude||1,676 to 1,860 metres above sea level|
|Full washed & sun dried on patios|