MEET OUR FARMERS
Our Meet Our Farmers series provides a glimpse into the history, legacy and dedication of the farming families whom we partner with. When you purchase San Francisco Bay Coffee, you are joining our efforts to improve the lives of our farmers and those in their communities around the world.
March 1, 2022
Eduardo Bracamontes Gris, Mexico
Eduardo Bracamontes Gris, owner of Finca Peru Paris, Mexico
In 1871, Carlos Gris came to the Soconusco region of Mexico with the dream of being a coffee farmer. He began a small farm, named it “Finca Magdalena,” and planted mostly bourbon varietals from Guatemala. Four years of hard and steady work paid off with his first coffee exportation to San Francisco in 1875. Carlos would later be recognized as “The Coffee Apostle” of the Chiapas region, not just because of his activism and promotion of coffee-growing in the Soconusco area, but because of his encouragement and support for coffee plantations throughout other states of Mexico as well.
Years later, when international investment began to take an interest in Mexico’s resources, the Hidalgo Plantation was established as part of the Mexican Land and Colonization Company. And at the start of the new millennium, Carlos’ son, Manuel Gris, began working for them. Twenty years later, Manuel was able to purchase two of Hidalgo’s farms – Finca Peru and Finca Paris – and what is now known as Finca Peru Paris was born.
It’s beautiful country — nestled in amongst the gentle mountains near the Tacana Volcano, 3,000 feet above sea level on the Pacific side of the lower coast of Mexico, rich soil, a “never-ending spring” climate, canopied with trees and years and years of biodiversity. It’s an environment where all animals, insects, and microorganisms are an important part of the team.
The love of coffee farming that began with Carlos back in the latter part of the 19th century has traveled through six generations to the farm the Gris family owns and operates today. Finca Peru Paris is now in the hands of Eduardo Bracamontes Gris and his wife, Eva Reinschlussel. Eduardo has written and published a book about his family’s history titled, “Six Generations: The Spell of Coffee” (published by the Granen Porrua Editorial Group).
He’s had a lot of help. His son Andros now leads the farming program, and his daughter Mayra is deeply involved in the social programs that are in place for their workers. These children are the fifth generation of Gris descendants to work in the family business. Finca Peru Paris employs 60 workers yearly to maintain the plantation. During harvest, the workforce grows to incorporate 250 families. The farm has a small school for the children of its harvest workforce and individual family dormitories for all who live at the farm to help with the crop.
Currently, Finca Peru Paris is in the last part of harvest and they’re about to start their pruning season. Harvest is a dry time in southern Mexico, but the rains are coming, and that will stimulate the flowerings that will become the new crop eight months afterwards.
The varietals that Finca Peru Paris used to grow when great-grandfather Carlos ran the farm are no longer a good option to produce on a larger scale, though Eduardo does maintain micro lots of these on the property. The varietals grown now are Obata, Bourbon 300, Anacafe 14, Parainema, Caturra Venecia, and Villa Sarchi. Each of these varietals has been studied for its potential success in the climate and harvested at the perfect ripening to obtain the most flavorful coffee beans of the region — and all done with the same passion and love for the enterprise that began with their great-grandfather six generations ago.
Changing climate and rising production costs are always a part of the challenges farmers face. Coffee is a crop that needs attention all throughout its development, and costs for labor and fertilizers are constantly increasing, especially now with the after-effects of Covid-19 in the marketplace. In general, the coffee industry does not always understand the needs of the coffee farmer. That’s why it’s so important to have a company like San Francisco Bay Coffee Company in the mix. Eduardo appreciates how San Francisco Bay Coffee helps farmers attain sustainability for the future of their plantations. They help to create a stability for the future of coffee production in the region.
Finca Peru Paris is grateful for its long-time relationship with San Francisco Bay Coffee Company. Not many companies in the world understand the importance of establishing win-win relationships. Without San Francisco Bay Coffee, 140 years of Gris family coffee history would have come to an end 15 years ago, losing not just a sense of family tradition but also an important source of employment for their community. Thanks to San Francisco Bay Coffee, Finca Peru Paris is able to reinvest in the plantation and focus both on the quality of the coffee and the quality of the lives of its employees.
Eduardo and his family have many plans going forward. In the short-term, they are changing their pruning techniques to increase efficiency. They are interested in two new varietals to evaluate. And they’re looking for new ways to diversify their processing methods at the wet mill with controlled fermentation. They’re also hoping to plant more native shade trees to preserve the microclimate on the farm.
The extended Gris family is very proud of the relationship it has built with San Francisco Bay Coffee Company and the Rogers family. They have worked together for 18 years, producing great quality coffee. They’ve fostered and supported Finca Peru Paris’ century-and-a-half legacy in the industry, overcoming challenges together and creating employment opportunities for all of the hard working families that depend upon them.