INTERVIEW WITH JOSÉ ELÍAS SANTOS MANCÍA, FINCA EL MATAZANO
I’VE BEEN A COFFEE PRODUCER FOR 19 YEARS. IN FACT, I STARTED BECAUSE MY FATHER HAD DECIDED TO USE HALF A HECTARE OF HIS LAND TO PLANT SOME COFFEE TREES, AND I WAS INTRIGUED…
My dad never used coffee plants from a nursery. He simply got some seeds from a friend and planted them on his land directly.
When he managed to sell his first coffees at a reasonable price, I decided to use part of my own land to grow beans as well. I wasn’t immediately convinced, but little by little I converted all my land to growing coffee and now it’s all I have.
As I'm older now, my adult son helps me a lot. We do everything together, in fact. My wife helps out during the picking season; it helps us save money on pickers.
Coffee is sacred to me. It’s my family’s only source of income, so we depend on it entirely, and fortunately it’s also what we most like. As a drink, but more even as a job. My son and I both love working in the field, being outside all day, caring for our plants, and cultivating the best possible beans.
We’re very proud each time when one of our lots is sold to a roaster in a faraway land. It helps us stay aware that we are part of something bigger, something that generates income for other families too, and something that brings happiness to people, when they drink the coffee that we produced for them.
Our land is small though; I’d wish it were a little bigger. We own 2 hectares and we only grow Pacas and some IH-café90. I’d love to add other varieties, to further improve quality and lessen the risk of rust leaf.
But, we can’t complain. Our coffees are increasingly often appreciated at true value and we love the feedback we get!