ALTITUDE 1,585-1,700m above sea level
VARIETY Bourbon, Caturra
PROCESSING Fully Washed
OWNER Ana Lucia & Don Rony Asensio
AWARDS Cup of Excellence 2009, 2012
La Soledad sits at an altitude of 1,585–1,750m above sea level on the slopes of Volcan de Agua in Antigua. The estate is owned by Ana Lucia Zelaya and her husband Rony Asensio. The two make a dynamic coffee duo—Ana Lucia is a fourth-generation coffee producer from a well-established and long-standing coffee producing family. Her husband, Rony, also comes from coffee-producing heritage and is a very talented, passionate and meticulous farmer who works incredibly hard to produce great coffee. He owns and manages several farms, and takes great pride in doing things exceptionally well.
La Soledad was originally part of the larger Finca Santa Clara, founded in 1908 by Lucia’s great grandfather, Sr. Luis Pedro Aguirre Matheu. His farm was passed down through the generations until the late 1990s when the farm was finally divided between the four children of Ricardo Zelaya Aguirre. At this time, Lucia and Rony took over the eleven-hectare part of the farm and called it ‘La Soledad’.
Rony and Lucia have a wonderful team of people who support them on their farm. The dynamic between each of them is very inclusive and respectful, and the loyalty and happiness of each team member is evident every time we visit. Day to day operations at La Soledad are managed by Julio Pablo Damian who has worked and lived on the farm since 2010. During the harvest, around twenty-five seasonal workers are employed to help pick the cherries. These pickers are highly skilled, and most return every year to work on the farm.
Due to varying altitude of La Soledad, the coffee cherries ripen at different times during the harvest, so Julio instructs his team of pickers to do around eight passes of the entire farm during the season to ensure only the ripest cherries are selected.
All the coffee trees at La Soledad grow under a canopy of Grevillea shade trees, which protect the coffee trees from frost and too much sun and encourage the coffee to ripen slowly.
Rony maintains a strict coffee pruning regimen at La Soledad, removing around a third of the coffee branches each year to help combat disease and ensure efficient production. This pruning program is part of a broader, integrated farm management program that has seen a dramatic decrease in the reliance on chemical inputs for the farm.