Antigua was once the capital of Guatemala for more than 200 years but after an earthquake in 1776, the capital was moved to its current location, Guatemala City. Antigua is surrounded by three volcanoes, the closest one being Vulcan de Agua (“the water Vulcan”). Near the foot of the volcano is a beneficio (i.e. mill) called Bella Vista. Bella Vista, run by Luis Pedro Zelaya, is both a farm and a wet and dry mill. All of our Guatemalan coffees this year were processed here.
Luis Pedro started working at Bella Vista after being educated in Honduras. It has been in the family for generations and is now owned by Luis Pedro’s father who also is called Luis Pedro. Together they have grown the company, beginning with the managing of their own farms: Bella Vista, Pulcal, Candelaria, Buena Vista, Chuito, and Santa Clara and over time, they began to manage other farms in the Antigua region. The Zelayas have always had a focus on quality and six years ago they began separating lots. The results haven’t led to an increase in quantity but there has been a significant rise in quality, leading to increases in price. At Bella Vista, cherries are received everyday, both from farms owned by Luis Pedro and his family, as well as farms managed by Luis Pedro. Bella Vista also processes coffee for nearby farms; Luis Pedro buys coffee from these farms, processes at Bella Vista and then sells this coffee.