Nelver Arevalo Heredia and his coffee
Nelver Arevalo Heredia is the owner of two and a half hectares of land in the El Paraiso village in the Huabal district of Peru. Nelver's land is located between 1875 to 2000 masl and is planted with a mix of varietals including caturra, typica, bourbon and catimor. It is planted at a density of 4000 plants per hectare. The catimor varietal is the only one planted and picked separately due to its different requirements for growth and harvesting as well as its cup quality. Over the last two years that Falcon have been working with Nelver, he has been slowly acquiring new land and planting it with geisha and bourbon.
Nelver manages the farm with the help of his parents and brother who are all coffee farmers in their own rights, owning a couple of hectares each. Together they share pickers and work on pruning, fertilisation and other farm work. They all work as pickers on each others farms when required.
Nelver's farm is managed organically, although it is not certified - he does not apply any chemical fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides and has a great respect for the environment. He has a shared vegetable garden with his family and they intercrop beans and some native root vegetables on the coffee farm, something quite rare in this area but that is a model for sustainable agriculture.
After picking, Nelver ferments his coffee for around 36 hours before washing it and placing it to dry on tarpaulin mats. Drying in this area takes around 7 to 10 days, depending on the weather conditions. He plans to invest in a parabolic dryer for the coming year to further improve the quality of his coffee.
The Huabal region:
Huabal is a district within Jaen province of Cajamarca and is one of Falcon's strongest areas for members and quality. It is an area that has huge potential for quality coffee but due to a very poor infrastructure, many of the producers lack resources and knowledge to unlock this potential. Altitudes in the area range from 1200 to 2100 masl but most of the producers Falcon work with are above 1800 masl.
Many producers in the Huabal region had been regenerating their farms with catimores (a coffee varietal), something promoted by the government and multinational buyers, and, in some altitude ranges they have been giving great results. With good management, they produce decent cup quality but in the higher altitudes, rarely do they produce much and the quality is poor. Now with the premiums they are receiving for quality, more and more producers are planting caturra, bourbon and catuai which, with good management and fertilisation, can yield higher and produce much better quality coffee.
Huabal is made up of various villages which are centres of coffee production with producers belonging to a specific village. Since Huabal spans a couple of mountains the climate conditions and soils can vary considerably: some areas have wet, humid conditions and red African like soils and others dry and hot. This all contributes to diverse and delicious cup profiles and some very complex coffees.