Success Story: Diego De La Cerda, alum produces winning coffees for global market

Filed Under: EARTH News
Date: July 19th, 2019
Diego de la Cerda (’98, Guatemala)

Diego De La Cerda (’98, Guatemala)

Diego De La Cerda (’98, Guatemala) oversees DLC Coffee Co., one of the most successful coffee businesses in Guatemala. Of its four plantations (El Socorro, San Guayaba, San Lorenzo, Río Arriba), the company has earned the greatest number of rave reviews and awards for El Socorro – a specialty coffee grown in Palencia, northeast of Guatemala City.

For Diego, his coffees are steeped in familial history. In 1968, his paternal grandparents (Mario De La Cerda and María Colom) regained El Socorro – lushly forested lands long-held by the family, the same lands where today’s signature coffee product is cultivated. In 1980, Diego’s father (Juan De La Cerda Colom) pioneered coffee farming within the family. Since taking control of the family business, Diego has steadfastly focused on boosting product quality. In the process, he has elevated the coffees’ profiles internationally.

Cup of Excellence Awards for DLC Coffee Co.

“Cup of Excellence is the most prestigious competition and auction for high-quality coffees. Each year, thousands of coffees are submitted for consideration, with winning coffees sold in global online auctions at premium prices, with the vast majority of auction proceeds going to the farmers.”

2007- 1st place

2008- 4th place

2009- 10th place

2011- 1st place

2012- 2nd place

2013- 3rd place

2015– 3rd place

2017- 23rd place

2018- 10th place

2008- 3rd place

2010-14th place

2013- 4th place

2015- 10th place

2016- 17th place

2017- 5th place

2018- 25th place


2015- 11th place

2016-17th place

2017-14th place

2018- 21st place

Diego De la Cerda

Diego has steadfastly focused on boosting product quality. In the process, he has elevated the coffees’ profiles internationally.

In addition to product quality, Diego is committed to raising the bar on environmental sustainability. DLC Coffee Co. employs a modified, resource-efficient wet processing to remove the fruit from the bean. After separation, the pulp and beans are mechanically transported to the next step in the process while the water is recycled again and again. Upon decommission, all water is purified and then returned to area waterways.

Diego exemplifies a form of farming in which environmental sustainability is not sacrificed to achieve a top-notch product – a pursuit taught and championed by EARTH University.

“My education at EARTH has influenced all that I have achieved to this day. I particularly liked learning by doing,” Diego says. “The intercultural exchange, both with professors and other students, was really enriching. I recommend EARTH every chance I get.”