We’ve been purchasing coffee from the Silva family since 2015. The family has a deep and rich history in the town of Apeneca and the surrounding area. Since 1870, more than six generations of the Silva family have grown coffee in the Apaneca-Ilamatepec mountain range.
(Rafael and Carmen Silva)
Today, the patriarch of the family, Rafael Silva oversees operations with his wife, Carmen, and eldest son, Rafael Jr – who works as the mill operations supervisor.
The oldest of the Silva family's farms is Finca La Sibiria, established in 1870 by Fabio Morán and Epifanio Silva. The farm's name comes from the unpredictable weather patterns and the inaccessibility of the land. Because of the unique micro-climate at the farm, coffee cherry matures much later at Sibiria, compared to those at the family's other farms.
In the early 1990s, Rafael Silva acquired 4 small parcels of adjoining land, and established Llano Grande, planting it with 100% bourbon. In 2008, wishing to take more control over the processing of the family’s coffee, Rafael made the risky decision to remove the vast majority of the coffee trees from Llano Grande, and build a processing mill.
The mill has been operational since 2011, and in addition to processing coffee from the families five farms, the Silva family also process coffees from over 20 local producers each year.
In his role as Mill Operations Supervisor, Rafael Silva Jr is ultimately responsible for the coffees we get to enjoy each year. Always inquisitive, Rafael has been trialing experimental processing at the family’s mill at Llano Grande, and in 2019 processed their first anaerobic coffee. Rafael understands that excellent coffee does not happen by accident, and is able to control each variable during processing – to ensure quality, and achieve repeatable results.
(Rafael Silva Jr)
Nolan and James visited the Silva family in March.
We stayed with Rafael Jr and Carmen at the family home, in the center of Apaneca. The 100yr old home is a U-shaped cottage, built around a central courtyard. The adobe-style house has walls that are 1 meter thick, to regulate the internal temperature. We spent the evening eating, catching up, and discussing future plans – including Rafael’s participation in the upcoming Brewers Cup competition.