MEXICO MARIA DEL ROSARIO HERNANDEZ - FILTER
Region: Tomatlán, Veracruz
Variety: Colombia, Costa Rica
Notes: Apricot, vanilla, caramel.
Tucked amidst the remote hills of Veracruz lies Finca La Yerbabuena, tended by producer María del Rocío Hernández Balderas. This modest 1-hectare farm carries a rich history, having cultivation dating back generations. Originally planted with traditional local varieties like Bourbon, Garnica and Criollo, the farm was renewed after a leaf rust outbreak in 2017. María replaced the aging plants with new Colombia, Costa Rica and broad leaf high-yield varieties resistant to disease. Some ancient shade trees like ixpepe still stand, but vanilla vines have been impacted by drought. Young cacao trees dot the farm, bearing grape-sized fruit eaten fresh or as chocolate. About 30 banana plants and 15 orange trees add diversity and supplemental income. Six women are hired each harvest to handpick only perfectly ripe cherries, yielding about 2,000kg annually. Ongoing care is provided by María and 13 day laborers who prune, fertilize and mulch the soils with compost. Recent challenges like hail have hampered yields, but María perseveres. After harvest, the coffee cherries are dried for seven days on raised beds with additional time on a patio for maximum moisture reduction, creating exceptionally clean parchment. This is then stored for two months in woven nylon sacks before its first ever export. Whilst no formal social or environmental project is attached to La Yerbabuena, María supports community initiatives through the farm's proceeds. Her goal is to continually enrich the soil, shade cover and cultivation methods to maximize quality and sustainability. The farm's name, meaning "good herb", references a beloved local archeological site. María takes pride in this legacy, representing generations who've worked the land before her. Each bag produced continues this family tradition, now shared with newfound appreciation worldwide.