Corahe farm
a coffee with a lot of heritage

PRIMERO CAFÉ

Corahe farm, located in Zentla, Veracruz, produces coffee made with talent, passion, and a lot of family heritage. The coffee grains from this paradise set deep in the mountainous area of the state tell the story of Cordova Arroyo´s family: from the Italian great-grandfather who settled in Veracruz to grow coffee in the 19thcentury and from whom all the knowledge was passed down from father to son, until the development in the XXI century of a innovative technology to dehydrate the grain with a hybrid process baptized as natural honey.

Marco Córdova belongs to the third generation of coffee producers at Corahe farm, today during father’s day he shares how valuable teachings of his ancestors are to him. It’s a kind of seed that grew roots inside him and his six siblings until love for the aromatic, respect for nature, and the search for unique flavors germinated in them. 

The Córdova Arroyo brothers. In the center, Marco, who is in charge of the sales area of the farm.

“Corahe is the initials of Córdova Arroyo Hermanos, we wanted to give some credit to our father and grandfather. It is a way to show gratitude for their teachings“.

Marco

The farm sales manager, Corahe farm

Italians who arrived to Veracruz, Marco says, “the government gave them land to work on. My great-grandfather decided to plant coffee trees; he passed the knowledge to my grandfather and then to my father; Antonio. That’s how we learned to grow coffee. Afterwards, my father taught us about the washing process and my siblings and I did our homework so we could get more out of the previous knowledge”. 

Marco tells us that when they were little “coffee processing was very rustic, everything was done by hand. My mother helped my father with the manual pulp remover, but later my father adapted an electric motor. In the old times, it was a lot of work, very strenuous and that’s why my brothers and I looked for a way to do the work more efficient and less strenuous with technology´s help”.

 

An innovative dehydrator

The dryer is located in Zentla, in Veracruz State.
The Córdova Arroyo brothers. In the center, Marco, who is in charge of the sales area of the farm.
The natural honey resembles caramel, fruits, chocolate, honey, vanilla,wine and nuts flavors.

For many years, the Córdova Arroyo family did the washing process on the farm, where the altitude of the coffee plantations starts at 1000 meters with a maximum high of 1400 meters above sea level.

Since four years ago they decided to handcraft honey and natural coffee to increase the opportunities in the specialty coffee market. Marco affirms, “we face the problem of humid weather in Veracruz. During harvesting season there is a lot of rain and the coffee could get contaminated with fungi; also the drying process take a long period of time, almost a month; moreover, it requires large areas which causes a lot of expenses and limits production”.

To solve this problem, Marco and his brothers set themselves a challenge: build a dryer to speed up the drying process. Based on the Guardiola principle, they built the machine themselves, an automatic coffee bean dryer. “We did some research to see what we could change and what to do different. We have not seen anyone with a machine like ours. The coffee takes 37 to 40 hours to dry, this help us to increase production by processing the coffee faster ”.

Our dryer has one metric ton loading capacity and it is made of stainless steel, this material allow us to have a better standard control in our process. Without depending on the weather, we can track temperature, rotation, and air speed to take care of the grain quality.

“We baptized it as natural honey because after so many tests, we realized that a huge percentage of the coffee lost the pulp inside the machine, sometimes there was a red honey or a yellow honey too. Thus we had two processes in one, the natural and the honey”, Marco explains. 

Marco admits that achieving the goal was complicated: “First, we built a 50 kilo prototype, made of carbon steel and the temperature was under control. Then we increase the weight to one metric ton, it was a nightmare because we ruined about 15 tons, and we were close to give it up”.

 Feedback and favorable comments from Tita Hernández, a Q grader tester, gave some hope to continue working on the dryer. “We have two years working at 100% with the dryer and we are working on another dryer with a better design for this year.

 Marco´s father, Antonio, is so proud of his sons’ achievements “He is happy. At the beginning he thought we wouldn’t do a good job, because we ruined a lot of coffee, but now that he is seeing some results, he can see the difference, overall he perceives that we are moving forward on production and selling areas, finding where to sell our coffee”.

 

National and international market 

The natural honey coffee of Finca Corahe has obtained scores of 83 and 84 points. On cup it shows a profile of fruits, caramel, chocolate, honey, vanilla, wine, and nuts, nuances that lead to win the third place in a national competition at Ensambles, cafés mexicanos, winning this competition opened doors to the national and international market. 

“Our clients are specialty coffee shops and coffee bars in Mexico city, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Aguascalientes, Chiapas, United States, China and Ukraine. We also sent coffee samples to Dubai and we are waiting for the results” shares Marco Córdova.

Another of their joys is that the process to obtain natural honey coffee is environmentally friendly, since water is not required in the process. “It is sustainable with an environmental awareness. Besides, from the waste we obtained byproducts from the peel, such as flour, jam  and infusions with a high content of antioxidants. We also received the visit from Texas University, they took some samples to prepare beer and it ended up being very tasty”.

 

Flour, jam and infusions are obtained from cherry peels.

At Finca Corahe the following coffee varieties: Sarchimor, Colombia, Caturra, Typica and Castillo are harvested. All trees are grown under shade to avoid deforestation. On the side of the river, the Córdova Arroyo brothers also began planting Robusta variety to get a specialty coffee under the natural honey process.

In this natural paradise, Marco enjoys his two most precious seeds: his two little sons, ages three and five, who are already helping him to cut the cherries, “only the red ones”, as his father tells them, Marco is proud to transfer to the new generation the family coffee love legacy. 

This is how coffee trees look like at Corahe Farm. Photos: Courtesy of Marco Córdova.

This is how coffee trees look like at Corahe Farm. Photos: Courtesy of Marco Córdova.