One of the things we really enjoyed about the podcast in 2017 was the “From the Field” segment, shared by Alejandro Martinez from Finca Argentina in El Salvador. Every time we’d have an event, we’d ask ourselves: is there a way to get Ale here as a speaker?
Finally, the stars aligned and we were able to have Ale join us, in person, on stage in San Francisco. Here, Alejandro provides a personal insight into one of the issues raised in Hanna’s talk earlier that morning: coffee farming profitability. In sharing his own story, Ale calls attention to the challenges and opportunities to farmers working within the specialty model, offering some actionable advice to anyone looking to ensure the future of quality specialty coffee.
Alejandro Martinez doesn’t have the usual “coffee producer” backstory: once a VP of Investment Banking in the Technology Mergers and Acquisitions Group of Bank of America Securities (now Bank of America Merrill Lynch), Alejandro began his career in specialty coffee in 2008 managing a 35 hectare farm originally acquired in 1967 by his grandfather, Luis Guillermo. Today, he manages a coffee estate of approximately 70 hectares, working remotely from Ahuachapan in El Salvador with the financial planning and analysis team of a cybersecurity tech company to keep the farms afloat as he builds initiatives to secure the future of the land and its workers.
Alejandro holds an MBA from Tuck Business School at Dartmouth and a BS in Business Administration from Universidad Fidelitas in Costa Rica, but it doesn’t stop him from talking about the biodynamic gnomes.