Honduras

Honduras Origin Update: Yields down 50%

I recently returned from my first trip to Honduras, and CCS’ second trip for this harvest. I wanted to write a blog post with poetic descriptions of the beautiful farms, amazing people and delicious coffees I discovered in the region, or how I attempted to break the record for most baleadas eaten at El Rincon Del Sabor (not a pretty story, I’m not a breakfast person). Instead I have bad news to report: 

Yields in Santa Barbara, Honduras, are down almost 50% compared to last year. 

My heart breaks for our partners and producers in the region, knowing the hard work and care they invest in this, and every, season. In this origin update I will try and explain what’s happening to cause such low production, and what the producers are doing to combat these problems and prepare for the future. 

The natural cycle of high years and low years

Last year was an atypically productive year for Honduras, so comparing the 2018 harvest to 2017 is a bit deceiving. Additionally, this year happened to be the lower-yielding year in the bi-annual ebb and flow of productivity.

“In 2016, the rainy season was a bit more typical with multiple rain patterns, producing more flowerings. Because of this, 2017 was a fruitful year,” Benjamin Paz of our export partners, San Vincente, explained. 

“It was a perfect storm for quantity. Numbers were way up. However, in 2017, there was a long period of time over the summer when the weather was atypically hot during stretches when they usually receive rain. This pushed the flowering much later into the year, and plant production suffered. This of course led to smaller production in 2018.”

Benjamin Paz, producer and Everything-You-Need-Coffee-Guy at San Vincente, Honduras

Benjamin Paz, producer and Everything-You-Need-Coffee-Guy at San Vincente, Honduras

Combating Climate Change

Benjamin added “this country is certainly struggling with climate changes. We should all be much more concerned with how we’re treating the environment.”

While many coffee producing countries are experiencing a drop in production, Central and South America seems to have been hit harder than other regions. It is certainly the worst case of climate-induced agricultural issues that I’ve seen to date. It was sad and frightening, but also hopeful to witness the support from Benjamin and his staff, and the work they are doing to prepare producers for future low-yielding seasons.  

Some farmers are switching varietals, moving away from Pacas and planting the more disease resistant option: Paraneima. This variety has become popular the last couple of years because of the mentioned resistance, and the ability to achieve 86+ scores from much lower altitudes, around 1200 m.a.s.l.

Additionally, farmers have renovated existing Pacas and Catimor trees to ensure more fruitful seasons in the future. Some farmers are adding newer, healthier plants altogether. 

Benjamin stated that we should expect climate change to continue impacting yields, but he hopes that production will be more stable in the future. While thinking positively is admirable, it is not enough to protect farmers, so Benjamin and the staff have been working closely with producers to build systems to combat down-years. They have been working on more accurate projection models, and teaching farmers how to predict low production so it’s not as great of a financial shock. This makes it easier for farmers to know when cash flow will be down, and thus, when to invest back into the farm. 

This was my first time in Honduras, an origin that holds a special place in CCS’ heart, with many friends we have been working with for over twelve years. Benjamin Paz, friend to us all, was a wonderful host and we were so well taken care of by the San Vincente team. The coffees were stellar and the high percentage of the offerings that scored 86+ was nothing short of impressive. We have so much love and respect for our friends in Honduras, and we desperately hope their efforts and foresight will help them avoid low-seasons, like this one, in future.

All photos by John Ivar Sørreime, Kaffa Oslo

Check out our current crop Honduras coffees that are all cupping spectacularly well, or contact your sales representative to pre-book new harvest coffees that will be shipping soon. 

In memory of Daniel Moreno

Photo taken on a Hasselblad by Tuuka Koski 

Photo taken on a Hasselblad by Tuuka Koski 

Dear Daniel,

We just learned that you will not be there when we go to visit next time, that makes us very sad. I was looking forward to seeing you again, hugging you again, seeing your beautiful wife and children and grandchildren again. They will all be there, I know that, but you have been the anchor Daniel, you have been The Father Moreno, and The Farmer of ‘El Campo’. We will miss you.

We would, as always, meet at your house upon the hill, and it would have been a heartfelt revisit. We’d try to hold back some tears, but none of us could really help it. It has been like that for many years now, and that’s why. This is business for both of us, but we also know that we depend on each other, and over time affection and care and a sense of responsibility builds. It is as inevitable and natural as in all other aspects of life, certainly when meeting such a graceful man like yourself. 

As the routine has always been, you would be eager to show us the coffee on the drying beds just behind the house, behind the fermentation tanks, and every time there would be something new that had been done since last time we met that we’d look at and discuss. I am sure everyone that has come to visit has the same image as I have of you, standing by the drying beds, humble yet proud, while quietly and gently raking the coffee with your hands, always picking, always moving, always improving.

Seemingly, all of your nine children have inherited this from you, of working hard and always moving forward. You have raised a large family, I will admit that we sometimes joke about going to Moreno Town when we visit because the whole place up in El Cedral is crowded with people, all ages, carrying your last name. The first Moreno I met was Miguel, your oldest son. He has responsibly taken the role, as the first born son sometimes has to, of carrying the baton, maintaining the legacy that you have left them with. Yet there is a family behind him, a whole community of people ready to work on that now, all thanks to you. Well, as we both know that is something that Miguel and yourself have had serious discussions about since before the ‘new era’, back in 2004, when you were about to give up coffee farming altogether, the work was too much of a struggle, not well paid by any measure, and many of your children were trying to make a living by working abroad. But Miguel convinced you to give it one more chance, he was back in Santa Barbara for a short while, from his work ’en el Norte’, and you let him prepare a lot from El Filo and submit a sample to the first Cup of Excellence that year. He succeeded with that one, you had a winning lot yourself in the CoE from El Campo the following year and everything since then is history.

Dear Daniel, rest in peace my friend. You are not going to be around us in the same way anymore and we will miss you oh so dearly, but don’t you worry. We will continue to take care of each other, by working hard and working together and looking after each other. You have planted that in us, and planted many seedlings in the soil, and nourished them to become beautiful trees that you have taken so well care of throughout a long lifetime. We’ll continue to enjoy the fruit of your labor, a labor of love. El Padrino del los cafes delociosos de Santa Barbara, mil Gracias!

 

With Love, 
Robert

& Bjørnar
& Collaborative Coffee Source’s team and family and friends
& Kaffa and Kaffabutikk’s team and family and friends
& Java and Mocca Coffee shops’ baristas and family and friends
& our customers, Kaffa, Robert Kao, Sørlandets Kaffebrenneri, Nordbeans, Cemo, Åre, Da Matteo, Audun, Sey, 4letter word, Reveille, and Common Room Roasters, all loyal to your coffee year after year
& coffee lovers all over the world. 


Related posts

Supporting farm labour

The following is an excerpt from our report Collaborative Coffee Source, Living Our Values 2017


In 2017, CCS and our sister company Kaffa celebrated twelve years of working with San Vicente and the farmers of Santa Barbara, Honduras. This relationship has been fruitful, yields have never been higher, quality has never been better.

This is a great achievement, and we take great pride in the dedication of these farmers, and our small contribution as long-term buyers. But a relationship like this holds an even greater power.

A coffee picker in Santa Barbara who stands to benefit from the new payment structure. This and the banner photo both taken on a Hasselblad by Tuuka Koski.

A coffee picker in Santa Barbara who stands to benefit from the new payment structure. This and the banner photo both taken on a Hasselblad by Tuuka Koski.

After twelve years of working together, we can speak differently in Santa Barbara. We can be more direct, we can trust that our partners are looking out for us and our partners can do the same. With our friends in Santa Barbara we have been able to discuss delicate issues like poverty and the livelihoods of coffee pickers and farm workers.

There is a fine line between a suggestion and a requirement. It is one thing to expose ignorance, it is entirely another to disrespect cultural differences and inter-relational dynamics in the communities that we only visit for a few days each year. We have to acknowledge that we don’t live our farming partners’ lives.

Still, our vision is to bring quality, prosperity and community to everyone in coffee, and that includes farm employees, many of whom are friends and neighbors of the farmers.

From a frank conversation with our friends in Santa Barbara, a new initiative was born. In 2017 we increased the FOB price to $4.25/4.50 per pound as the base price for an 86-points lot, and farm gate prices increased proportionally. We asked the farmers to use that premium to pay their farm-workers and pickers more.

It is not a condition, rather a request. This increase of $0.50/lb. from last season is intended to give farmers the financial means to distribute some of their profits to their workers. When we visit Honduras again in 2018 we will report to you the progress of this initiative.

Santa Barbara, Honduras 2017

Neptaly Bautista: an early CCS partner in Santa Barbara

Neptaly Bautista: an early CCS partner in Santa Barbara

Field Reports from early and late harvest visits

This is an intro and a comment to what CCS is doing in Santa Barbara. As we are celebrating our 12th+ year of working in this region we are assessing some experiences and looking ahead; at how we want work here going forward.

CCS is making such a direct impact in this community like nowhere else I can think of. Our position is strong, which comes with great responsibility. One that I do not take lightly. It is really humbling. Our deeds are seen and our words are heard. Any temptation to give suggestions to a farmer-friend must be well thought through before it is said, or else, before you know it, what you said will be done.

These partnerships have fortunately been mutually beneficial. Yields have never been higher and the quality has never been better. That is of course not to our credit and is thanks to hard work from the people that live and breathe in Santa Barbara.

There is no mistake: Buying is Power. It has always been like that in this business and continues to be the case. CCS’ buying-power is evident in Santa Barbara, which is important for the things we want to achieve with San Vicente. This is a fact that we are well aware of and is something that needs to be protected, nourished, cherished and held on to.

In the years that have passed since the beginning of our focused sourcing and concrete buying from the region began, CCS is now committing to 20 times our original volume. When looking ahead we should prepare ourselves, collaborate with our farming partners (including our exporter San Vicente), and communicate with the marketplace that we will double the current volume within the next few years; a growth that is inevitable and has been almost organic.

The Moreno family: one of CCS' strongest partnerships anywhere

The Moreno family: one of CCS' strongest partnerships anywhere

How This All Began

It started with buying just a few bags from Natividad Benitez, the first-place winner of Cup of Excellence in 2005. It sparked a relationship between Natividad and MOCCA in Oslo (later MOCCA’s roasting operation became a separate roasting company: KAFFA) yet instead we found ourselves growing into relationships with some of his neighbors over the course of the next couple of years. From these humble beginnings, today we find ourselves working with 40 families — and counting — through Collaborative Coffee Source.

Santa Barbara is one of those regions that was clearly discovered and defined by the CoE program. Arturo Angel Paz of San Vicente Coffee Exporters, is a dedicated and curious coffee cupper. He met Miguel Moreno of El Cedral, an ambitious and anxious producer (he was in huge debt at the time just before the competition) when Miguel dropped off one of his samples. From this moment, these two men have been instrumental in changing the Honduran coffee scene forever: Santa Barbara has clearly developed into an appellation. Ironically today, coffee cherries from Marcala (formerly recognized as the important coffee region in Honduras) are bought to be dried in Santa Barbara.

Like so many places we are visiting and buying from, the coffee supply chain and trade has clearly separated into two tracks: commercial or specialty, which not only defines level of ambition and empowerment, but livelihood and thus, level of poverty, to be clear. The dream of most farmers in the know is to find ‘a buyer’ — un comprador — one to grow with. Coffee farming is incredibly labor intensive and the only way to make a living when one has a small farm is to work the land yourself and engaging other family members. Only when the land is larger, just like in any economy, really, can one afford the overhead cost of management.

Having pickers/workers/employees, even in countries where the cost of labor is already unsustainably low (for the worker) when paid at its minimum level, is still the main cost for making coffee. It is also the cost that farmers really experience to be their main economic challenge.

The current price of coffee, even when at levels paid for specialty coffee these days, is dependent on keeping people in poverty, or at least paying them as little as possible for a job that is not only hard and uncomfortable — but totally necessary.

So when we speak about ‘equitable’ and ‘sustainable’ business for the people, we mean everyone involved.

Pedro Sagastume (L) and his son-in-law, Edwin Pineda (R). Gen II relationships in SB

Pedro Sagastume (L) and his son-in-law, Edwin Pineda (R). Gen II relationships in SB

Paying up

Having responsibility suggests that one act responsibly. Our sense of ‘duty’ in these Santa Barbara communities is firm. I strongly believe that the only way to talk about the issues of ‘livelihood’ and ‘poverty’ is to acknowledge the fact that money matters — for all parties involved — and now is the time to bring it up with our suppliers in a way that is also making them feel the responsibility that they have as employers of coffee workers, many times from their own community and sometimes their neighbors.

There can be a subtle nuance between suggesting and requiring something. As much as there may be a desire to change things for what we think is better, we walk a fine line in trying not to impose our mindset. Exposing ignorance is one thing. Worse is being seen as disrespecting cultural differences and inter-relational dynamics in the communities that we - after all - visit only for a few days each year. We have to acknowledge that we don’t live our farming partners’ lives.

Still, this is the new paradigm we are working toward: This harvest/buying season we are increasing the FOB price to $4.25/4.50 per pound (hence Farm Gate pricing is increasing proportionally) as the BASE price for an 86-points lot, we are at the same time ‘asking’ that the farmers also the pay their workers: farm-workers, pickers, etc., more. It is not a condition, but this increase of 50 cts/lb from last season is meant to give the farmer/land owner/owner of the facilities/business person/ employer an opportunity to distribute some of the gains they are making in relationship with us, to their workers.

As for the farms themselves: the stories, challenges and qualities from this harvest, we’ll share these over the next few weeks as we receive the lots and distribute them to their homes all over the world. Due to the prolonged harvest season, which started in January and went all the way to June, we have visited the region more often this year and have thus selected lots from the mid-harvest point (March), which has now just landed. The lots selected from the later harvest point (June) will soon be afloat.

Follow here and our social media for more on the specific farm updates that we will present in the coming days and weeks.

Coming up in the next season, we will work closely with a team of people on the ground to improve quality even further and in all aspects of making great coffee: husbandry, picking, processing, drying and packaging.

See you soon at a cupping table near you!

- Robert W

SCA x CCS 2017

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We will be cupping a curated selection of our coffees: available, soon to be available, along with some stunners that simply need revisiting.

Date: Sunday, April 23, 2017
Time: 10:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: The Cupping Exchange, Room 618
 

Honduras

From the currently harvesting. Showcasing long-time friends and new acquaintances from Santa Barbara, which produces some of our most interesting Central American offerings coming from some of our longest-standing relationships.

Moreno Family, El Cedral, Santa Barbara

Moreno Family, El Cedral, Santa Barbara

Guatemala

A selection of some of the most versatile coffees we offer. Featuring cups from Antigua & Huehuetenango.

Luis Pedro Zelaya Zamora, Bella Vista Mill

Luis Pedro Zelaya Zamora, Bella Vista Mill


Kenya

Charles Cardoso from Kenyacof will be on hand to discuss the flight of freshly harvested coffees (on offer), along with the ups and downs of the just completed harvest season.

Mary Maina, Manyeki Estate

Mary Maina, Manyeki Estate


Ethiopia

From mainstays to our first international presentation of newly established relationships with cooperatives in the Agaro region.

Asnake Nigat of Kata Muduga Union

Asnake Nigat of Kata Muduga Union


Colombia

Alejandro Renjifo of Fairfield Trading will accompany the presentation of our Acevedo lots, freshly arrived and meticulously curated during the Acevedo Cup Competition from December 2016.

Alejandro Renjifo (R) with Acevedo Cup winner Fernando Bustos (C) & Eduardo Urquina of Fairfield Trading (L)

Alejandro Renjifo (R) with Acevedo Cup winner Fernando Bustos (C) & Eduardo Urquina of Fairfield Trading (L)


Burundi

Ben Carlson from Long Miles Coffee joins us as we cup and reflect on how stunning these Burundian coffees have been and what it took to get them there.

Ben Carlson (L) with Jeremie Nakimuhana (C) from Long Miles with a farmer from Mikuba Hill

Ben Carlson (L) with Jeremie Nakimuhana (C) from Long Miles with a farmer from Mikuba Hill


Sal, Martell, Robert and David will be on hand to talk about the coffees, the origins, and also CCS, our model and fielding inquiries/interest on working together.

Our session is open to the public. The room is set for 30 people, with 25/30 spots already confirmed.

Get in touch with Sal to secure these last spots. He will also be happy to schedule a meeting with you should you not be able to attend the cupping.

Farmer Profile: Cresencio Izaguirre

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Family Details

Farmer’s & Spouse’s names: Cresencio Izaguirre & Maria de Los Angeles Martinez Farmer’s Date of Birth: 10 June 1972
Children’s names & years of birth: Ruber Joel (1999); Ingrid Jackeline (2000); Jairo Nahun (2002); Lusby Roxeni (2005); Yeldy Maritza (2008); Seiri (2010)
Year farmer received/purchased first coffee farm: 1989
 

About Cresencio & his family

Cresencio comes from a coffee growing family; he is a second-generation farmer. His brothers (Bernardo, Glenis & Juan Angel) and mother (Maria Adilia) own their own coffee plantations, which neighbour Cresencio’s plantations. Together, the family share drying facilities and are currently constructing a beneficio/wet mill.  His current focus now that he has purchased more land, is to build a new house for his family.

When asked why he chose coffee farming, Cresencio responded that coffee provides a stable income. He also wanted to continue the coffee farming legacy of his parents. When asked what his biggest accomplishment has been to date, Cresencio responded that he is most proud of the fact that he is a coffee producer. According to Cresencio, the biggest challenge he faces in relation to coffee production is disease, like “roya”, along with not having enough resources to fight them.

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Farm & Production Data

Closest town: El Cedral
Region: Santa Barbara
Altitude: Three plantations: 1. 1600 masl; 2. 1580 masl; 3. 1580 masl
Farm Size: 3.8 ha
Approximate number of trees planted per hectare: 2450
Soil composition: Volcanic
Harvest season: January to June
Harvest peak: March
Approx. annual production: 15 bags (per 69kg)
Variety: almost 100% pacas with a few bourbon plants
Process: dry fermentation for 24 hours, then washed 3-4 times with agitation
 

Other Data

Other crops grown: corn & beans for family’s own consumption
Percentage of income coming from coffee production: 100%
Number of people employed at farm: 5 pickers/seasonal workers + family
Pickers’ wage: 50 HNL/5-gallon bucket

 

About the Farm & Coffee

Cresencio’s coffee production comes from three separate plantations (as noted above) and in 2015, Cresencio purchased more land at a lower elevation. This plot was already planted with coffee (of the bourbon variety), which Cresencio stumped, meaning the re-growth will begin producing in 2018. Most Cresencio’s production is from the pacas variety, with maybe one bag of bourbon. We’ll see the bourbon production increase once the newly purchased and stumped plantation is producing again. For the first time (2017), Cresencio has agreed to separate out his bourbon production, even though this will only produce about a bag. Both he and we are curious about what the cup profile will be.

Cup profile: Guava, nectarine, hints of pine in the aroma. Starfruit, dried nectarine, some citrus peel, pear-like in the cup.

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The Relationships

We were introduced to Cresencio by our good friends and exporters, San Vicente, based in Peña Blanca, the closest city to almost all the farmers we work with in Honduras. San Vicente has been an invaluable partner to us, helping the development process of our relationships with the farmers with whom we work, introducing us to new potential partners, providing milling & logistic services, and actively working together with farmers on new strategies to improve farm-level practices to improve cup quality each year.
 

Background to Santa Barbara

The villages Cielito, Cedral and Las Flores follow one after another along the mountain range in Santa Barbara. Grown on this hillside is mostly Pacas, a coffee species akin to Bourbon, as well as Yellow Catuaí and Pacamara. It is challenging to process coffee cherries in areas like these, which are close to the jungle and thus, to rain. The drying process is especially demanding. But when these processes are precisely controlled, seemingly problematic factors (like drying under challenging conditions) are what make coffee from this area particularly interesting. The coffee produced here cups with flavour attributes not found anywhere else in Central America.

Since 2005, the region, Santa Barbara, and the small producers living and working there, have shared the distinction as the place and the people producing exceptional coffee within Honduras. Our work and the

beginning of the on-going relationships we’ve since established here began during the 2005 Cup of Excellence. We came to realize that there are exceptional producers from this small area. And since that inaugural year, we have purchased from over twenty different Santa Barbara producers.Located in the village of Pena Blanca is coffee exporter San Vicente – the company that coordinates the coffee we buy from Santa Barbara. Over the past several years, one particular hillside has become the largest supplier of CoE winners in Honduras. The most successful farms with the smartest and most innovative farmers are neighbours on this hillside and they help each other to refine the best of their lots.

There exists an eagerness here; a willingness, motivation and ambition to produce the best coffee in the country. But there are also large differences amongst the farmers and our purpose is to be close to this special coffee community and get to know the most ambitious of the farmers here; the ones we can develop something with. In order to build relationships – that allow both parties to have a common understanding of quality coffee – there must be frequent and long-term presence.

To produce coffee that tastes fruity is not very complicated. But to produce coffee that is clean, clear, fresh and fruity – that’s an art. One of the biggest assumptions within specialty coffee is that coffee from high- altitude areas naturally exhibits these characteristics. But high elevation can lead to potential problems, even in tropical climates.

In the highest areas of Santa Barbara, up to and over 1800 meters, producers can experience “freezing”: the combination of temperatures between 4-5C and rainfall that combine to cause cherries to not ripen and leaves to die on the bush. These conditions create a cold and humid climate, which is hazardous for processing and requires steady and reliable drying conditions for coffee so quality will not deteriorate. These natural conditions, of course, cannot be evaded. But clever and prescient coffee farmers, like the ones we collaborate with, invest in drying systems that minimize the risks associated with weather.

Farmer Profile: Roberto Figueroa

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Location: El Cedral, Las Vegas
Region: Santa Barbara
Altitude (masl): 1565-1585
Average Annual Rainfall (mm): 800
Process: Washed, Dried on parabolic driers
Variety: Pacas


About

Since 2005, Santa Barbara, and the small producers living and working there, have shared the distinction as the place and the people producing exceptional coffee within Honduras. Our work and the beginning of the on-going relationships we’ve since established here began during the 2005 Cup of Excellence. We came to realize that there are exceptional producers from this small area. And since that inaugural year, we have purchased from over twenty different Santa Barbara producers.

Located in the village of Pena Blanca is coffee exporter San Vicente – the company that coordinates the coffee we buy from Santa Barbara. Over the past several years, one particular hillside has become the largest supplier of CoE winners in Honduras. The most successful farms with the smartest and most innovative farmers are neighbours on this hillside and they help each other to refine the best of their lots.

There exists an eagerness here; a willingness, motivation and ambition to produce the best coffee in the country. But there are also large differences amongst the farmers and our purpose is to be close to this special coffee community and get to know the most ambitious of the farmers here; the ones we can develop something with. In order to build relationships – that allow both parties to have a common understanding of quality coffee – there must be frequent and long-term presence.

To produce coffee that tastes fruity is not very complicated. But to produce coffee that is clean, clear, fresh and fruity – that’s an art. One of the biggest assumptions within specialty coffee is that coffee from high-altitude areas naturally exhibits these characteristics. But high elevation can lead to potential problems, even in tropical climates.

In the highest areas of Santa Barbara, up to and over 1800 meters, producers can experience “freezing”: the combination of temperatures between 4-5C and rainfall that combine to cause cherries to not ripen and leaves to die on the bush. These conditions create a cold and humid climate, which is hazardous for processing and requires steady and reliable drying conditions for coffee so quality will not deteriorate. These natural conditions, of course, cannot be evaded. But clever and prescient coffee farmers, like the ones we collaborate with, invest in drying systems that minimize the risks associated with weather.


Background

Since the beginning of our work in Santa Barbara, Honduras, which started before CCS even existed through our sister-company KAFFA Oslo (a roaster), the relationships we’ve developed within this region have been some of the strongest and most exciting of all the relationships we have in all the coffee origins we work with.

What started out as purchasing coffee from a mere handful of farmers has expanded to our working with almost 40 producers across 4 municipalities. And the growth is only increasing, which is good since a high demand for these coffees have developed over the years. Still, there is more demand than there is supply and we still need to be scrutinizing and picky to get the really good stuff. The great news is that more and more farmers are becoming ambitious and know what the market is demanding.

Santa Barbara is an area that has, over the years, become recognized namely by some of the very same producers we have developed close ties with. And more broadly, Honduras has made a strong name for itself in the coffee world. For example, in this year’s Cup of Excellence (2016), Honduras was put on the map as an origin that has a variety of varieties that now include geisha. Some of these coffees are scoring the high 80s and are even reaching 90s, thus fetching historically high auction prices (worldwide) at +$120/lb.

There are three major developments that we are excited about sharing with respect to our work in Santa Barbara (SB) this year:

1) A new price agreement

We have raised the bar and so necessarily, the price. The fact that the market is still low should not matter to the long-standing and loyal producers of the greatest coffees around.

Our goal always from the beginning is to only buy 86+ point coffee. Practically, some of the lots we have purchased from SB have been at 85 points. In agreeing to work with someone long-term, there needs to be support even and, perhaps especially, during the times that not all the factors are at their optimal.

Today, we happily report that there are more 86-point coffees than ever before and consequently, we are raising prices for the considerable efforts made. We are paying more than ever. On the other hand, if the coffees are less than 86, we are also paying less.

The prices this year range from $3.00/lb to $4.50/lb FOB and in today’s market, these prices are very high. Our farmer partners not only expressed gratitude for our continued relationship and support but they are re-investing in land, facilities, their families and their children’s education. Some of the farmers we’ve worked with longest are truly prospering.

2) Deforestation is not accepted!

The demand for coffee has pressured/tempted an increasing number of farmers to cut adjacent natural forest in order to plant more coffee. The consequences of these practices are devastating and we have expressed a strict opposition to this. To be clear, CCS will not buy coffee from newly deforested areas and we’ve met with the mayor of one of the municipalities in order to show even more strength and support for this message.

3) Processing: drying & shade

As we’ve come to learn, one of the key factors in making good quality coffee is processing. It is also clear that the process itself, and the drying stage in particular, is making for a more or less long-lived cup quality. This is becoming increasingly important in SB as the international recognition for the area rises and the prices go up.

Roasters need for green coffee to keep up their quality months after arrival. A fading coffee feels demoralizing to all of us and is oftentimes not an understood or experienced phenomenon by the farmer. Some are educating themselves about this and taking the need for solutions seriously.

As a general rule our partners have been implementing slower drying of the parchment under shade in order to protect it from direct sunlight during the first steps of the drying process. This has proven favorable.

Although this is currently one of the investments we are seeing in the field, just four years it was rare to see farmers drying their own coffee in the first place. These days, some are very proud of their being masters of the processing craft.

Farmer Profile: Pedro Sagastume

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Name: El Quetzal
Location: El Sauce, Santa Barbara
Altitude (masl): 1555-1630
Average Annual Rainfall (mm): 800
Process: Washed
Variety: Pacas


About

El Sauce, where Pedro Sagastume has his farm, is a micro region that is increasingly becoming renowned for high quality coffee within Santa Barbara. It is a region that has been represented well at Cup of Excellence. Edwin is a newer partner for us and we believe he has the drive and ambition to produce ever-increasing quality coffee, as evidenced by the investments he’s made in his facilities and due to the care he’s shown in the processing of his coffee.

Since 2005, the region, Santa Barbara, and the small producers living and working there, have shared the distinction as the place and the people producing exceptional coffee within Honduras. Our work and the beginning of the on-going relationships we’ve since established here began during the 2005 Cup of Excellence. We came to realize that there are exceptional producers from this small area. And since that inaugural year, we have purchased from over twenty different Santa Barbara producers.

Located in the village of Pena Blanca is coffee exporter San Vicente – the company that coordinates the coffee we buy from Santa Barbara. Over the past several years, one particular hillside has become the largest supplier of CoE winners in Honduras. The most successful farms with the smartest and most innovative farmers are neighbours on this hillside and they help each other to refine the best of their lots.

There exists an eagerness here; a willingness, motivation and ambition to produce the best coffee in the country. But there are also large differences amongst the farmers and our purpose is to be close to this special coffee community and get to know the most ambitious of the farmers here; the ones we can develop something with. In order to build relationships – that allow both parties to have a common understanding of quality coffee – there must be frequent and long-term presence.

To produce coffee that tastes fruity is not very complicated. But to produce coffee that is clean, clear, fresh and fruity – that’s an art. One of the biggest assumptions within specialty coffee is that coffee from high-altitude areas naturally exhibits these characteristics. But high elevation can lead to potential problems, even in tropical climates.

In the highest areas of Santa Barbara, up to and over 1800 meters, producers can experience “freezing”: the combination of temperatures between 4-5C and rainfall that combine to cause cherries to not ripen and leaves to die on the bush. These conditions create a cold and humid climate, which is hazardous for processing and requires steady and reliable drying conditions for coffee so quality will not deteriorate. These natural conditions, of course, cannot be evaded. But clever and prescient coffee farmers, like the ones we collaborate with, invest in drying systems that minimize the risks associated with weather.

 

Background

Since the beginning of our work in Santa Barbara, Honduras, which started before CCS even existed through our sister-company KAFFA Oslo (a roaster), the relationships we’ve developed within this region have been some of the strongest and most exciting of all the relationships we have in all the coffee origins we work with.

What started out as purchasing coffee from a mere handful of farmers has expanded to our working with almost 40 producers across 4 municipalities. And the growth is only increasing, which is good since a high demand for these coffees have developed over the years. Still, there is more demand than there is supply and we still need to be scrutinizing and picky to get the really good stuff. The great news is that more and more farmers are becoming ambitious and know what the market is demanding.

Santa Barbara is an area that has, over the years, become recognized namely by some of the very same producers we have developed close ties with. And more broadly, Honduras has made a strong name for itself in the coffee world. For example, in this year’s Cup of Excellence (2016), Honduras was put on the map as an origin that has a variety of varieties that now include geisha. Some of these coffees are scoring the high 80s and are even reaching 90s, thus fetching historically high auction prices (worldwide) at +$120/lb.

There are three major developments that we are excited about sharing with respect to our work in Santa Barbara (SB) this year:

1) A new price agreement

We have raised the bar and so necessarily, the price. The fact that the market is still low should not matter to the long-standing and loyal producers of the greatest coffees around.

Our goal always from the beginning is to only buy 86+ point coffee. Practically, some of the lots we have purchased from SB have been at 85 points. In agreeing to work with someone long-term, there needs to be support even and, perhaps especially, during the times that not all the factors are at their optimal.

Today, we happily report that there are more 86-point coffees than ever before and consequently, we are raising prices for the considerable efforts made. We are paying more than ever. On the other hand, if the coffees are less than 86, we are also paying less.

The prices this year range from $3.00/lb to $4.50/lb FOB and in today’s market, these prices are very high. Our farmer partners not only expressed gratitude for our continued relationship and support but they are re-investing in land, facilities, their families and their children’s education. Some of the farmers we’ve worked with longest are truly prospering.

2) Deforestation is not accepted!

The demand for coffee has pressured/tempted an increasing number of farmers to cut adjacent natural forest in order to plant more coffee. The consequences of these practices are devastating and we have expressed a strict opposition to this. To be clear, CCS will not buy coffee from newly deforested areas and we’ve met with the mayor of one of the municipalities in order to show even more strength and support for this message.

3) Processing: drying & shade

As we’ve come to learn, one of the key factors in making good quality coffee is processing. It is also clear that the process itself, and the drying stage in particular, is making for a more or less long-lived cup quality. This is becoming increasingly important in SB as the international recognition for the area rises and the prices go up.

Roasters need for green coffee to keep up their quality months after arrival. A fading coffee feels demoralizing to all of us and is oftentimes not an understood or experienced phenomenon by the farmer. Some are educating themselves about this and taking the need for solutions seriously.

As a general rule our partners have been implementing slower drying of the parchment under shade in order to protect it from direct sunlight during the first steps of the drying process. This has proven favorable.

Although this is currently one of the investments we are seeing in the field, just four years it was rare to see farmers drying their own coffee in the first place. These days, some are very proud of their being masters of the processing craft.

Farmer Profile: Eulogio Martinez

From L: Fidel Paz (Exportadora San Vicente), Eulogio, Bjørnar (CCS)

From L: Fidel Paz (Exportadora San Vicente), Eulogio, Bjørnar (CCS)

Name: Los Yoyos
Locaton: Las Flores, Santa Barbara
Farm Size: 0.7 hectares
Altitude (masl): 1400Average Annual Rainfall(mm): 750
Process: Washed
Variety: Pacamara


About

We met Eulogio in 2008, while visiting producers at San Vincente we were already working with. We are always looking for new, innovative and diverse producers and because Eulogio was the first producer to develop the Pacamara variety in Santa Barbara, we were interested in cupping his coffee. His coffee proved to be quite unique with a lot of acidity – albeit unbalanced – not found in any of the other coffees produced by our other partners in Honduras. We decided to buy his lot that year, both because of the potential we saw in it and because we did not want to see it wasted by going into an export mix.

Each year since, we have visited with Eulogio and discussed processing and quality – specifically the need to be even more selective in his cherry selection than before. His coffee has shown tremendous improvement and is cupping more balanced this year. We look forward to even better quality in the seasons to come.

The villages Cielito, Cedral and Las Flores follow one after another along the mountain range in Santa Barbara. Grown on this hillside is mostly Pacas, a coffee species akin to Bourbon, as well as Yellow Catuaí and Pacamara. It is challenging to process coffee cherries in areas like these, which are close to the jungle and thus, to rain. The drying process, in particular, is especially demanding. But when these processes are precisely controlled, seemingly problematic factors (like drying under challenging conditions) are what make coffee from this area particularly interesting. The coffee produced here cups with flavour attributes not found anywhere else in Central America.

Since 2005, the region, Santa Barbara, and the small producers living and working there, have shared the distinction as the place and the people producing exceptional coffee within Honduras. Our work and the beginning of the on-going relationships we’ve since established here began during the 2005 Cup of Excellence. We came to realize that there are exceptional producers from this small area. And since that inaugural year, we have purchased from over twenty different Santa Barbara producers.

Located in the village of Pena Blanca is coffee exporter San Vicente – the company that coordinates the coffee we buy from Santa Barbara. Over the past several years, one particular hillside has become the largest supplier of CoE winners in Honduras. The most successful farms with the smartest and most innovative farmers are neighbours on this hillside and they help each other to refine the best of their lots.

There exists an eagerness here; a willingness, motivation and ambition to produce the best coffee in the country. But there are also large differences amongst the farmers and our purpose is to be close to this special coffee community and get to know the most ambitious of the farmers here; the ones we can develop something with. In order to build relationships – that allow both parties to have a common understanding of quality coffee – there must be frequent and long-term presence.

To produce coffee that tastes fruity is not very complicated. But to produce coffee that is clean, clear, fresh and fruity – that’s an art. One of the biggest assumptions within specialty coffee is that coffee from high-altitude areas naturally exhibits these characteristics. But high elevation can lead to potential problems, even in tropical climates.

In the highest areas of Santa Barbara, up to and over 1800 meters, producers can experience “freezing”: the combination of temperatures between 4-5C and rainfall that combine to cause cherries to not ripen and leaves to die on the bush. These conditions create a cold and humid climate, which is hazardous for processing and requires steady and reliable drying conditions for coffee so quality will not deteriorate. These natural conditions, of course, cannot be evaded. But clever and prescient coffee farmers, like the ones we collaborate with, invest in drying systems that minimize the risks associated with weather.


Background

Since the beginning of our work in Santa Barbara, Honduras, which started before CCS even existed through our sister-company KAFFA Oslo (a roaster), the relationships we’ve developed within this region have been some of the strongest and most exciting of all the relationships we have in all the coffee origins we work with.

What started out as purchasing coffee from a mere handful of farmers has expanded to our working with almost 40 producers across 4 municipalities. And the growth is only increasing, which is good since a high demand for these coffees have developed over the years. Still, there is more demand than there is supply and we still need to be scrutinizing and picky to get the really good stuff. The great news is that more and more farmers are becoming ambitious and know what the market is demanding.

Santa Barbara is an area that has, over the years, become recognized namely by some of the very same producers we have developed close ties with. And more broadly, Honduras has made a strong name for itself in the coffee world. For example, in this year’s Cup of Excellence (2016), Honduras was put on the map as an origin that has a variety of varieties that now include geisha. Some of these coffees are scoring the high 80s and are even reaching 90s, thus fetching historically high auction prices (worldwide) at +$120/lb.

There are three major developments that we are excited about sharing with respect to our work in Santa Barbara (SB) this year:

1) A new price agreement

We have raised the bar and so necessarily, the price. The fact that the market is still low should not matter to the long-standing and loyal producers of the greatest coffees around.

Our goal always from the beginning is to only buy 86+ point coffee. Practically, some of the lots we have purchased from SB have been at 85 points. In agreeing to work with someone long-term, there needs to be support even and, perhaps especially, during the times that not all the factors are at their optimal.

Today, we happily report that there are more 86-point coffees than ever before and consequently, we are raising prices for the considerable efforts made. We are paying more than ever. On the other hand, if the coffees are less than 86, we are also paying less.

The prices this year range from $3.00/lb to $4.50/lb FOB and in today’s market, these prices are very high. Our farmer partners not only expressed gratitude for our continued relationship and support but they are re-investing in land, facilities, their families and their children’s education. Some of the farmers we’ve worked with longest are truly prospering.

2) Deforestation is not accepted!

The demand for coffee has pressured/tempted an increasing number of farmers to cut adjacent natural forest in order to plant more coffee. The consequences of these practices are devastating and we have expressed a strict opposition to this. To be clear, CCS will not buy coffee from newly deforested areas and we’ve met with the mayor of one of the municipalities in order to show even more strength and support for this message.

3) Processing: drying & shade

As we’ve come to learn, one of the key factors in making good quality coffee is processing. It is also clear that the process itself, and the drying stage in particular, is making for a more or less long-lived cup quality. This is becoming increasingly important in SB as the international recognition for the area rises and the prices go up.

Roasters need for green coffee to keep up their quality months after arrival. A fading coffee feels demoralizing to all of us and is oftentimes not an understood or experienced phenomenon by the farmer. Some are educating themselves about this and taking the need for solutions seriously.

As a general rule our partners have been implementing slower drying of the parchment under shade in order to protect it from direct sunlight during the first steps of the drying process. This has proven favorable.

Although this is currently one of the investments we are seeing in the field, just four years it was rare to see farmers drying their own coffee in the first place. These days, some are very proud of their being masters of the processing craft.

Farmer Profile: Neptaly Bautista

Robert of CCS with Neptaly Bautista 

Robert of CCS with Neptaly Bautista 

Name: Jazmin
Location: El Cedral, Santa Barbara
Farm Size: 2.10 hectares
Altitude (masl): 1500Average
Annual Rainfall (mm):750
Process: Washed
Variety: Pacas


About

Neptaly lives on the border of El Cedral, very close to El Cielito, where he owns another small plantation, planted with Pacas bushes. We first met Neptaly at San Vincente in 2009 and have bought from him since. Throughout our partnership, we have had several discussions about how the potential of producing even better quality coffee through investments in his own facilities, especially drying beds. We have seen improvements each year in the quality of the green coffee coming from Jazmin and this year is no exception - the quality of his coffee has improved substantially this year. We have known each other for several years now, and it has become a good friendship and sustainable partnership for both of us.

Neptaly is one of the greatest representatives to exemplify the wonderful improvements in Santa Barbara in recent years.

Husbandry and processing work and improvements:

  • he has the resources to buy the fertilizer he needs and he applies it in timely fashion, which is very important.
  • he does all the pruning and field work himself. He has a small farm and he is a very proud farmer (and wants to do as much as possible himself)
  • he manages the picking team of 12 seasonal workers (cherry pickers) during harvest to ensure a good quality. Red picking is key and in working with Neptaly, the pickers really understand the importance of quality!
  • he has built his own processing facility after he decided to do it by himself, not with his brother in-law as previously. He now with full control.
  • he has built a new parabolic/solar bed for drying his coffee, just like the Moreno brothers, so he is more in charge of that process too.
  • he has bought a new little piece of land so he can plant more coffee trees.
  • he has built a new house in the city so his children can go to college there.
  • he doesn't own a car but he has just bought a motorcycle so he can get around more easily.

Neptaly has two farms (less than 1ha each). The one that has the best coffee is an hour’s walk away from his farmhouse. So during picking season, cherries are transported by mule to the processing facility.


Background

Since the beginning of our work in Santa Barbara, Honduras, which started before CCS even existed through our sister-company KAFFA Oslo (a roaster), the relationships we’ve developed within this region have been some of the strongest and most exciting of all the relationships we have in all the coffee origins we work with.

What started out as purchasing coffee from a mere handful of farmers has expanded to our working with almost 40 producers across 4 municipalities. And the growth is only increasing, which is good since a high demand for these coffees have developed over the years. Still, there is more demand than there is supply and we still need to be scrutinizing and picky to get the really good stuff. The great news is that more and more farmers are becoming ambitious and know what the market is demanding.

Santa Barbara is an area that has, over the years, become recognized namely by some of the very same producers we have developed close ties with. And more broadly, Honduras has made a strong name for itself in the coffee world. For example, in this year’s Cup of Excellence (2016), Honduras was put on the map as an origin that has a variety of varieties that now include geisha. Some of these coffees are scoring the high 80s and are even reaching 90s, thus fetching historically high auction prices (worldwide) at +$120/lb.

There are three major developments that we are excited about sharing with respect to our work in Santa Barbara (SB) this year:

1) A new price agreement

We have raised the bar and so necessarily, the price. The fact that the market is still low should not matter to the long-standing and loyal producers of the greatest coffees around.

Our goal always from the beginning is to only buy 86+ point coffee. Practically, some of the lots we have purchased from SB have been at 85 points. In agreeing to work with someone long-term, there needs to be support even and, perhaps especially, during the times that not all the factors are at their optimal.

Today, we happily report that there are more 86-point coffees than ever before and consequently, we are raising prices for the considerable efforts made. We are paying more than ever. On the other hand, if the coffees are less than 86, we are also paying less.

The prices this year range from $3.00/lb to $4.50/lb FOB and in today’s market, these prices are very high. Our farmer partners not only expressed gratitude for our continued relationship and support but they are re-investing in land, facilities, their families and their children’s education. Some of the farmers we’ve worked with longest are truly prospering.

2) Deforestation is not accepted!

The demand for coffee has pressured/tempted an increasing number of farmers to cut adjacent natural forest in order to plant more coffee. The consequences of these practices are devastating and we have expressed a strict opposition to this. To be clear, CCS will not buy coffee from newly deforested areas and we’ve met with the mayor of one of the municipalities in order to show even more strength and support for this message.

3) Processing: drying & shade

As we’ve come to learn, one of the key factors in making good quality coffee is processing. It is also clear that the process itself, and the drying stage in particular, is making for a more or less long-lived cup quality. This is becoming increasingly important in SB as the international recognition for the area rises and the prices go up.

Roasters need for green coffee to keep up their quality months after arrival. A fading coffee feels demoralizing to all of us and is oftentimes not an understood or experienced phenomenon by the farmer. Some are educating themselves about this and taking the need for solutions seriously.

As a general rule our partners have been implementing slower drying of the parchment under shade in order to protect it from direct sunlight during the first steps of the drying process. This has proven favorable.

Although this is currently one of the investments we are seeing in the field, just four years it was rare to see farmers drying their own coffee in the first place. These days, some are very proud of their being masters of the processing craft.

Farmer Profile: Edwin Pineda

32592718722_075d45d813_o.jpg

Name: El Pozo
Location: El Sauce, Santa Barbara
Farm Size: 0.35 Hectares
Altitude (masl): 1540
Average Annual Rainfall (mm): 750
Process: Washed
Variety: Pacas


About

El Pozo is located in the micro-region of El Sauce and Mr. Edwin Pineda has decided to focus on producing high quality/specialty grade coffee. To this end, he processes his own coffee at his father-in-law’s wet mill, located in the town of El Dorado, Santa Barbara. In addition, he has invested in raised beds and dries his own coffee – a practice not yet commonplace amongst the farms in Santa Barbara.

El Sauce is a micro region that is increasingly becoming renowned for high quality coffee within Santa Barbara. It is a region that has been represented well at Cup of Excellence. Edwin is a newer partner for us and we believe he has the drive and ambition to produce ever-increasing quality coffee, as evidenced by the investments he’s made in his facilities and due to the care he’s shown in the processing of his coffee.

Since 2005, the region, Santa Barbara, and the small producers living and working there, have shared the distinction as the place and the people producing exceptional coffee within Honduras. Our work and the beginning of the on-going relationships we’ve since established here began during the 2005 Cup of Excellence. We came to realize that there are exceptional producers from this small area. And since that inaugural year, we have purchased from over twenty different Santa Barbara producers.

Located in the village of Pena Blanca is coffee exporter San Vicente – the company that coordinates the coffee we buy from Santa Barbara. Over the past several years, one particular hillside has become the largest supplier of CoE winners in Honduras. The most successful farms with the smartest and most innovative farmers are neighbours on this hillside and they help each other to refine the best of their lots.

There exists an eagerness here; a willingness, motivation and ambition to produce the best coffee in the country. But there are also large differences amongst the farmers and our purpose is to be close to this special coffee community and get to know the most ambitious of the farmers here; the ones we can develop something with. In order to build relationships – that allow both parties to have a common understanding of quality coffee – there must be frequent and long-term presence.

To produce coffee that tastes fruity is not very complicated. But to produce coffee that is clean, clear, fresh and fruity – that’s an art. One of the biggest assumptions within specialty coffee is that coffee from high-altitude areas naturally exhibits these characteristics. But high elevation can lead to potential problems, even in tropical climates.

In the highest areas of Santa Barbara, up to and over 1800 meters, producers can experience “freezing”: the combination of temperatures between 4-5C and rainfall that combine to cause cherries to not ripen and leaves to die on the bush. These conditions create a cold and humid climate, which is hazardous for processing and requires steady and reliable drying conditions for coffee so quality will not deteriorate. These natural conditions, of course, cannot be evaded. But clever and prescient coffee farmers, like the ones we collaborate with, invest in drying systems that minimize the risks associated with weather.


Background

Since the beginning of our work in Santa Barbara, Honduras, which started before CCS even existed through our sister-company KAFFA Oslo (a roaster), the relationships we’ve developed within this region have been some of the strongest and most exciting of all the relationships we have in all the coffee origins we work with.

What started out as purchasing coffee from a mere handful of farmers has expanded to our working with almost 40 producers across 4 municipalities. And the growth is only increasing, which is good since a high demand for these coffees have developed over the years. Still, there is more demand than there is supply and we still need to be scrutinizing and picky to get the really good stuff. The great news is that more and more farmers are becoming ambitious and know what the market is demanding.

Santa Barbara is an area that has, over the years, become recognized namely by some of the very same producers we have developed close ties with. And more broadly, Honduras has made a strong name for itself in the coffee world. For example, in this year’s Cup of Excellence (2016), Honduras was put on the map as an origin that has a variety of varieties that now include geisha. Some of these coffees are scoring the high 80s and are even reaching 90s, thus fetching historically high auction prices (worldwide) at +$120/lb.

There are three major developments that we are excited about sharing with respect to our work in Santa Barbara (SB) this year:

1) A new price agreement

We have raised the bar and so necessarily, the price. The fact that the market is still low should not matter to the long-standing and loyal producers of the greatest coffees around.

Our goal always from the beginning is to only buy 86+ point coffee. Practically, some of the lots we have purchased from SB have been at 85 points. In agreeing to work with someone long-term, there needs to be support even and, perhaps especially, during the times that not all the factors are at their optimal.

Today, we happily report that there are more 86-point coffees than ever before and consequently, we are raising prices for the considerable efforts made. We are paying more than ever. On the other hand, if the coffees are less than 86, we are also paying less.

The prices this year range from $3.00/lb to $4.50/lb FOB and in today’s market, these prices are very high. Our farmer partners not only expressed gratitude for our continued relationship and support but they are re-investing in land, facilities, their families and their children’s education. Some of the farmers we’ve worked with longest are truly prospering.

2) Deforestation is not accepted!

The demand for coffee has pressured/tempted an increasing number of farmers to cut adjacent natural forest in order to plant more coffee. The consequences of these practices are devastating and we have expressed a strict opposition to this. To be clear, CCS will not buy coffee from newly deforested areas and we’ve met with the mayor of one of the municipalities in order to show even more strength and support for this message.

3) Processing: drying & shade

As we’ve come to learn, one of the key factors in making good quality coffee is processing. It is also clear that the process itself, and the drying stage in particular, is making for a more or less long-lived cup quality. This is becoming increasingly important in SB as the international recognition for the area rises and the prices go up.

Roasters need for green coffee to keep up their quality months after arrival. A fading coffee feels demoralizing to all of us and is oftentimes not an understood or experienced phenomenon by the farmer. Some are educating themselves about this and taking the need for solutions seriously.

As a general rule our partners have been implementing slower drying of the parchment under shade in order to protect it from direct sunlight during the first steps of the drying process. This has proven favorable.

Although this is currently one of the investments we are seeing in the field, just four years it was rare to see farmers drying their own coffee in the first place. These days, some are very proud of their being masters of the processing craft.

Farmer Profile: Manuel Vallecillo

img_0067.jpg

Name: Los Primos
Location: El Cielito, Santa Barbara
Altitude(masl): 1710-1860
Average Annual Rainfall(mm): 800
Farm Size: 3.5 hectares
Process: Washed
Variety: Pacas


About

Manuel currently alternates between a life in Houston, Texas, where he works for a bus company, and his life as a coffee farmer in El Cielito, Santa Barbara. He spends 10 months of the year in Texas and 2 months in Santa Barbara. Manuel was born in the village of Nueva Esperanza, nearby Santa Barbara, where he initially learned about and worked in coffee production. He moved to the US in order to pursue other work and in recent years decided to work and invest in coffee production once more.

He has since planted Los Primos, motivated and influenced by friends working with specialty coffee. He began to notice and hear about the success of friends and neighbouring specialty coffee farmers around the region. 2014 marks Los Primos’ first harvest and Manuel is already planning ahead, planting another three hectares of the pacas variety on his land.


Background

Since the beginning of our work in Santa Barbara, Honduras, which started before CCS even existed through our sister-company KAFFA Oslo (a roaster), the relationships we’ve developed within this region have been some of the strongest and most exciting of all the relationships we have in all the coffee origins we work with.

What started out as purchasing coffee from a mere handful of farmers has expanded to our working with almost 40 producers across 4 municipalities. And the growth is only increasing, which is good since a high demand for these coffees have developed over the years. Still, there is more demand than there is supply and we still need to be scrutinizing and picky to get the really good stuff. The great news is that more and more farmers are becoming ambitious and know what the market is demanding.

Santa Barbara is an area that has, over the years, become recognized namely by some of the very same producers we have developed close ties with. And more broadly, Honduras has made a strong name for itself in the coffee world. For example, in this year’s Cup of Excellence (2016), Honduras was put on the map as an origin that has a variety of varieties that now include geisha. Some of these coffees are scoring the high 80s and are even reaching 90s, thus fetching historically high auction prices (worldwide) at +$120/lb.

There are three major developments that we are excited about sharing with respect to our work in Santa Barbara (SB) this year:

1) A new price agreement

We have raised the bar and so necessarily, the price. The fact that the market is still low should not matter to the long-standing and loyal producers of the greatest coffees around.

Our goal always from the beginning is to only buy 86+ point coffee. Practically, some of the lots we have purchased from SB have been at 85 points. In agreeing to work with someone long-term, there needs to be support even and, perhaps especially, during the times that not all the factors are at their optimal.

Today, we happily report that there are more 86-point coffees than ever before and consequently, we are raising prices for the considerable efforts made. We are paying more than ever. On the other hand, if the coffees are less than 86, we are also paying less.

The prices this year range from $3.00/lb to $4.50/lb FOB and in today’s market, these prices are very high. Our farmer partners not only expressed gratitude for our continued relationship and support but they are re-investing in land, facilities, their families and their children’s education. Some of the farmers we’ve worked with longest are truly prospering.

2) Deforestation is not accepted!

The demand for coffee has pressured/tempted an increasing number of farmers to cut adjacent natural forest in order to plant more coffee. The consequences of these practices are devastating and we have expressed a strict opposition to this. To be clear, CCS will not buy coffee from newly deforested areas and we’ve met with the mayor of one of the municipalities in order to show even more strength and support for this message.

3) Processing: drying & shade

As we’ve come to learn, one of the key factors in making good quality coffee is processing. It is also clear that the process itself, and the drying stage in particular, is making for a more or less long-lived cup quality. This is becoming increasingly important in SB as the international recognition for the area rises and the prices go up.

Roasters need for green coffee to keep up their quality months after arrival. A fading coffee feels demoralizing to all of us and is oftentimes not an understood or experienced phenomenon by the farmer. Some are educating themselves about this and taking the need for solutions seriously.

As a general rule our partners have been implementing slower drying of the parchment under shade in order to protect it from direct sunlight during the first steps of the drying process. This has proven favorable.

Although this is currently one of the investments we are seeing in the field, just four years it was rare to see farmers drying their own coffee in the first place. These days, some are very proud of their being masters of the processing craft.

Farmer Profile: Mario Moreno

Mario Moreno

Mario Moreno

Name: El Filo
Location: El Cedral, Santa Barbara
Farm Size: 0.88 hectares
Altitude (masl): 1550
Average Annual Rainfall (mm): 800
Process: Washed
Variety: Bourbon


About

The Moreno Brothers: Miguel, Mario, Danny, Jesus, Gerardo, and Olvin inherited their farms from their father Daniel, who divided it in lots for each son. More recently, Miguel’s son Dolmin has been given his own plot to manage on El Filo. Together, the Morenos built a wet mill, raised beds, and solar dryers to process and prepare specialty coffee. The Moreno family helps and motivates other farmers to produce and prepare better quality with the sharing of their knowledge and facilities.

The villages Cielito, Cedral and Las Flores follow one after another along the mountain range in Santa Barbara. Grown on this hillside is mostly Pacas, a coffee species akin to Bourbon, as well as Yellow Catuaí and Pacamara. It is challenging to process coffee cherries in areas like these, which are close to the jungle and thus, to rain. The drying process, in particular, is especially demanding. But when these processes are precisely controlled, seemingly problematic factors (like drying under challenging conditions) are what make coffee from this area particularly interesting. The coffee produced here cups with flavour attributes not found anywhere else in Central America.

Since 2005, the region, Santa Barbara, and the small producers living and working there, have shared the distinction as the place and the people producing exceptional coffee within Honduras. Our work and the beginning of the on-going relationships we’ve since established here began during the 2005 Cup of Excellence. We came to realize that there are exceptional producers from this small area. And since that inaugural year, we have purchased from over twenty different Santa Barbara producers.

Located in the village of Pena Blanca is coffee exporter San Vicente – the company that coordinates the coffee we buy from Santa Barbara. Over the past several years, one particular hillside has become the largest supplier of CoE winners in Honduras. The most successful farms with the smartest and most innovative farmers are neighbours on this hillside and they help each other to refine the best of their lots.

There exists an eagerness here; a willingness, motivation and ambition to produce the best coffee in the country. But there are also large differences amongst the farmers and our purpose is to be close to this special coffee community and get to know the most ambitious of the farmers here; the ones we can develop something with. In order to build relationships – that allow both parties to have a common understanding of quality coffee – there must be frequent and long-term presence.

To produce coffee that tastes fruity is not very complicated. But to produce coffee that is clean, clear, fresh and fruity – that’s an art. One of the biggest assumptions within specialty coffee is that coffee from high-altitude areas naturally exhibits these characteristics. But high elevation can lead to potential problems, even in tropical climates.

In the highest areas of Santa Barbara, up to and over 1800 meters, producers can experience “freezing”: the combination of temperatures between 4-5C and rainfall that combine to cause cherries to not ripen and leaves to die on the bush. These conditions create a cold and humid climate, which is hazardous for processing and requires steady and reliable drying conditions for coffee so quality will not deteriorate. These natural conditions, of course, cannot be evaded. But clever and prescient coffee farmers, like the ones we collaborate with, invest in drying systems that minimize the risks associated with weather.

 

Background

Since the beginning of our work in Santa Barbara, Honduras, which started before CCS even existed through our sister-company KAFFA Oslo (a roaster), the relationships we’ve developed within this region have been some of the strongest and most exciting of all the relationships we have in all the coffee origins we work with.

What started out as purchasing coffee from a mere handful of farmers has expanded to our working with almost 40 producers across 4 municipalities. And the growth is only increasing, which is good since a high demand for these coffees have developed over the years. Still, there is more demand than there is supply and we still need to be scrutinizing and picky to get the really good stuff. The great news is that more and more farmers are becoming ambitious and know what the market is demanding.

Santa Barbara is an area that has, over the years, become recognized namely by some of the very same producers we have developed close ties with. And more broadly, Honduras has made a strong name for itself in the coffee world. For example, in this year’s Cup of Excellence (2016), Honduras was put on the map as an origin that has a variety of varieties that now include geisha. Some of these coffees are scoring the high 80s and are even reaching 90s, thus fetching historically high auction prices (worldwide) at +$120/lb.

There are three major developments that we are excited about sharing with respect to our work in Santa Barbara (SB) this year:

1) A new price agreement

We have raised the bar and so necessarily, the price. The fact that the market is still low should not matter to the long-standing and loyal producers of the greatest coffees around.

Our goal always from the beginning is to only buy 86+ point coffee. Practically, some of the lots we have purchased from SB have been at 85 points. In agreeing to work with someone long-term, there needs to be support even and, perhaps especially, during the times that not all the factors are at their optimal.

Today, we happily report that there are more 86-point coffees than ever before and consequently, we are raising prices for the considerable efforts made. We are paying more than ever. On the other hand, if the coffees are less than 86, we are also paying less.

The prices this year range from $3.00/lb to $4.50/lb FOB and in today’s market, these prices are very high. Our farmer partners not only expressed gratitude for our continued relationship and support but they are re-investing in land, facilities, their families and their children’s education. Some of the farmers we’ve worked with longest are truly prospering.

2) Deforestation is not accepted!

The demand for coffee has pressured/tempted an increasing number of farmers to cut adjacent natural forest in order to plant more coffee. The consequences of these practices are devastating and we have expressed a strict opposition to this. To be clear, CCS will not buy coffee from newly deforested areas and we’ve met with the mayor of one of the municipalities in order to show even more strength and support for this message.

3) Processing: drying & shade

As we’ve come to learn, one of the key factors in making good quality coffee is processing. It is also clear that the process itself, and the drying stage in particular, is making for a more or less long-lived cup quality. This is becoming increasingly important in SB as the international recognition for the area rises and the prices go up.

Roasters need for green coffee to keep up their quality months after arrival. A fading coffee feels demoralizing to all of us and is oftentimes not an understood or experienced phenomenon by the farmer. Some are educating themselves about this and taking the need for solutions seriously.

As a general rule our partners have been implementing slower drying of the parchment under shade in order to protect it from direct sunlight during the first steps of the drying process. This has proven favorable.

Although this is currently one of the investments we are seeing in the field, just four years it was rare to see farmers drying their own coffee in the first place. These days, some are very proud of their being masters of the processing craft.

Farmer Profile: Amado Fernandez

donamado1
donamado1

Name: Don Amado
Location: Las Flores, Santa Barbara
Farm Size: 3.7 hectares
Altitude(masl): 1550
Average Annual Rainfall (mm): 800
Process: Washed
Variety: Yellow Catuai


About

Jose Amado’s father, Don Amado (Jose’s farm’s namesake), divided his farm into four lots – one for each of his sons. While all the brothers share facilities, each owns his own equipment and each farm’s lots are processed separately. Jose’s Yellow Catuai variety won the Cup of Excellence competition in 2010, with 91 points, and we bought the remaining three bags from his harvest that year.

Since then, we have visited the farm 1-2 times per year and have encouraged Jose to invest in more processing facilities. One planned future investment is drying beds, which will lead to higher quality coffee and better prices for his coffee. Jose has shown clear merits as a dedicated and conscientious producer and his coffee was one of our favourites from Central America in 2011. This particular lot was consistently clean and maintained its quality throughout the year.

The villages Cielito, Cedral and Las Flores follow one after another along the mountain range in Santa Barbara. Grown on this hillside is mostly Pacas, a coffee species akin to Bourbon, as well as Yellow Catuaí and Pacamara. It is challenging to process coffee cherries in areas like these, which are close to the jungle and thus, to rain. The drying process, in particular, is especially demanding. But when these processes are precisely controlled, seemingly problematic factors (like drying under challenging conditions) are what make coffee from this area particularly interesting. The coffee produced here cups with flavour attributes not found anywhere else in Central America.

Since 2005, the region, Santa Barbara, and the small producers living and working there, have shared the distinction as the place and the people producing exceptional coffee within Honduras. Our work and the beginning of the on-going relationships we’ve since established here began during the 2005 Cup of Excellence. We came to realize that there are exceptional producers from this small area. And since that inaugural year, we have purchased from over twenty different Santa Barbara producers.

Located in the village of Pena Blanca is coffee exporter San Vicente – the company that coordinates the coffee we buy from Santa Barbara. Over the past several years, one particular hillside has become the largest supplier of CoE winners in Honduras. The most successful farms with the smartest and most innovative farmers are neighbours on this hillside and they help each other to refine the best of their lots.

There exists an eagerness here; a willingness, motivation and ambition to produce the best coffee in the country. But there are also large differences amongst the farmers and our purpose is to be close to this special coffee community and get to know the most ambitious of the farmers here; the ones we can develop something with. In order to build relationships – that allow both parties to have a common understanding of quality coffee – there must be frequent and long-term presence.

To produce coffee that tastes fruity is not very complicated. But to produce coffee that is clean, clear, fresh and fruity – that’s an art. One of the biggest assumptions within specialty coffee is that coffee from high-altitude areas naturally exhibits these characteristics. But high elevation can lead to potential problems, even in tropical climates. In the highest areas of Santa Barbara, up to and over 1800 meters, producers can experience “freezing”: the combination of temperatures between 4-5C and rainfall that combine to cause cherries to not ripen and leaves to die on the bush. These conditions create a cold and humid climate, which is hazardous for processing and requires steady and reliable drying conditions for coffee so quality will not deteriorate. These natural conditions, of course, cannot be evaded. But clever and prescient coffee farmers, like the ones we collaborate with, invest in drying systems that minimize the risks associated with weather.


Background

Since the beginning of our work in Santa Barbara, Honduras, which started before CCS even existed through our sister-company KAFFA Oslo (a roaster), the relationships we’ve developed within this region have been some of the strongest and most exciting of all the relationships we have in all the coffee origins we work with.

What started out as purchasing coffee from a mere handful of farmers has expanded to our working with almost 40 producers across 4 municipalities. And the growth is only increasing, which is good since a high demand for these coffees have developed over the years. Still, there is more demand than there is supply and we still need to be scrutinizing and picky to get the really good stuff. The great news is that more and more farmers are becoming ambitious and know what the market is demanding.

Santa Barbara is an area that has, over the years, become recognized namely by some of the very same producers we have developed close ties with. And more broadly, Honduras has made a strong name for itself in the coffee world. For example, in this year’s Cup of Excellence (2016), Honduras was put on the map as an origin that has a variety of varieties that now include geisha. Some of these coffees are scoring the high 80s and are even reaching 90s, thus fetching historically high auction prices (worldwide) at +$120/lb.

There are three major developments that we are excited about sharing with respect to our work in Santa Barbara (SB) this year:

1) A new price agreement

We have raised the bar and so necessarily, the price. The fact that the market is still low should not matter to the long-standing and loyal producers of the greatest coffees around.

Our goal always from the beginning is to only buy 86+ point coffee. Practically, some of the lots we have purchased from SB have been at 85 points. In agreeing to work with someone long-term, there needs to be support even and, perhaps especially, during the times that not all the factors are at their optimal.

Today, we happily report that there are more 86-point coffees than ever before and consequently, we are raising prices for the considerable efforts made. We are paying more than ever. On the other hand, if the coffees are less than 86, we are also paying less.

The prices this year range from $3.00/lb to $4.50/lb FOB and in today’s market, these prices are very high. Our farmer partners not only expressed gratitude for our continued relationship and support but they are re-investing in land, facilities, their families and their children’s education. Some of the farmers we’ve worked with longest are truly prospering.

2) Deforestation is not accepted!

The demand for coffee has pressured/tempted an increasing number of farmers to cut adjacent natural forest in order to plant more coffee. The consequences of these practices are devastating and we have expressed a strict opposition to this. To be clear, CCS will not buy coffee from newly deforested areas and we’ve met with the mayor of one of the municipalities in order to show even more strength and support for this message.

3) Processing: drying & shade

As we’ve come to learn, one of the key factors in making good quality coffee is processing. It is also clear that the process itself, and the drying stage in particular, is making for a more or less long-lived cup quality. This is becoming increasingly important in SB as the international recognition for the area rises and the prices go up.

Roasters need for green coffee to keep up their quality months after arrival. A fading coffee feels demoralizing to all of us and is oftentimes not an understood or experienced phenomenon by the farmer. Some are educating themselves about this and taking the need for solutions seriously.

As a general rule our partners have been implementing slower drying of the parchment under shade in order to protect it from direct sunlight during the first steps of the drying process. This has proven favorable.

Although this is currently one of the investments we are seeing in the field, just four years it was rare to see farmers drying their own coffee in the first place. These days, some are very proud of their being masters of the processing craft.

 

Producer Profile: Nelson Ramirez

Finca Chely

Finca Chely

Farm: Chely Location: El Cielto, Santa Barbara
Altitude (masl): 1510-1550
Average Annual Rainfall (mm): 750
Size of the farm: 15 Hectares
Average production per year: 100-120 bags
Process: Washed
Variety: Red Catuai


About

The village of  Cielito, where Nelson Ramirez's 15 hectare farm is situated, cascades along the mountain range in Santa Barbara in Honduras.

Grown on this hillside is mostly Pacas, a coffee species akin to Bourbon, as well as Yellow Catuaí and Pacamara. It is challenging to process coffee cherries in areas like these, which are close to the jungle and thus, to rain. The drying process, in particular, is especially demanding. But when these processes are precisely controlled, seemingly problematic factors (like drying under challenging conditions) are what make coffee from this area particularly interesting. The coffee produced here cups with flavour attributes not found anywhere else in Central America.

Since 2005, the region of Santa Barbara and the small producers living and working there have shared the distinction as the place and the people producing exceptional coffee within Honduras. Our work and the beginning of the on-going relationships we’ve since established here began during the 2005 Cup of Excellence. We came to realize that there are exceptional producers from this small area. And since that inaugural year, we have purchased from over twenty different Santa Barbara producers.

There exists an eagerness here; a willingness, motivation and ambition to produce the best coffee in the country. In order to build relationships – that allow both parties to have a common understanding of quality coffee – there must be frequent and long-term presence.

Located in the village of Pena Blanca is coffee exporter San Vicente – the company that coordinates the coffee we buy from Santa Barbara. Over the past several years, one particular hillside has become the largest supplier of CoE winners in Honduras. The most successful farms with the smartest and most innovative farmers are neighbours on the hillsides of this region and they help each other to refine the best of their lots.


Background

Since the beginning of our work in Santa Barbara, Honduras, which started before CCS even existed through our sister-company KAFFA Oslo (a roaster), the relationships we’ve developed within this region have been some of the strongest and most exciting of all the relationships we have in all the coffee origins we work with.

What started out as purchasing coffee from a mere handful of farmers has expanded to our working with almost 40 producers across 4 municipalities. And the growth is only increasing, which is good since a high demand for these coffees have developed over the years. Still, there is more demand than there is supply and we still need to be scrutinizing and picky to get the really good stuff. The great news is that more and more farmers are becoming ambitious and know what the market is demanding.

Santa Barbara is an area that has, over the years, become recognized namely by some of the very same producers we have developed close ties with. And more broadly, Honduras has made a strong name for itself in the coffee world. For example, in this year’s Cup of Excellence (2016), Honduras was put on the map as an origin that has a variety of varieties that now include geisha. Some of these coffees are scoring the high 80s and are even reaching 90s, thus fetching historically high auction prices (worldwide) at +$120/lb.

There are three major developments that we are excited about sharing with respect to our work in Santa Barbara (SB) this year:

1) A new price agreement

We have raised the bar and so necessarily, the price. The fact that the market is still low should not matter to the long-standing and loyal producers of the greatest coffees around.

Our goal always from the beginning is to only buy 86+ point coffee. Practically, some of the lots we have purchased from SB have been at 85 points. In agreeing to work with someone long-term, there needs to be support even and, perhaps especially, during the times that not all the factors are at their optimal.

Today, we happily report that there are more 86-point coffees than ever before and consequently, we are raising prices for the considerable efforts made. We are paying more than ever. On the other hand, if the coffees are less than 86, we are also paying less.

The prices this year range from $3.00/lb to $4.50/lb FOB and in today’s market, these prices are very high. Our farmer partners not only expressed gratitude for our continued relationship and support but they are re-investing in land, facilities, their families and their children’s education. Some of the farmers we’ve worked with longest are truly prospering.

2) Deforestation is not accepted!

The demand for coffee has pressured/tempted an increasing number of farmers to cut adjacent natural forest in order to plant more coffee. The consequences of these practices are devastating and we have expressed a strict opposition to this. To be clear, CCS will not buy coffee from newly deforested areas and we’ve met with the mayor of one of the municipalities in order to show even more strength and support for this message.

3) Processing: drying & shade

As we’ve come to learn, one of the key factors in making good quality coffee is processing. It is also clear that the process itself, and the drying stage in particular, is making for a more or less long-lived cup quality. This is becoming increasingly important in SB as the international recognition for the area rises and the prices go up.

Roasters need for green coffee to keep up their quality months after arrival. A fading coffee feels demoralizing to all of us and is oftentimes not an understood or experienced phenomenon by the farmer. Some are educating themselves about this and taking the need for solutions seriously. 

As a general rule our partners have been implementing slower drying of the parchment under shade in order to protect it from direct sunlight during the first steps of the drying process. This has proven favorable.

Although this is currently one of the investments we are seeing in the field, just four years it was rare to see farmers drying their own coffee in the first place. These days, some are very proud of their being masters of the processing craft.

Producer Profile: Miguel Moreno

Miguel Moreno

Miguel Moreno

Name: El Filo
Location: El Cedral, Santa Barbara
Farm Size: 3.5 hectares
Altitude (masl): 1550
Average Annual Rainfall (mm): 750
Processing: Washed
Variety: Pacas


About

In 2005, Miguel Moreno returned to Honduras after working for many years in the US to support the family farm. That year, his neighbor, Mr. Benitez, won the 2nd Honduras Cup of Excellence competition. Mr. Benitez didn’t make it to the awards ceremony, so Miguel accepted it instead. This experience changed Miguel’s view on coffee production and his interest in farming was born.

Daniel Moreno, patriarch of the Moreno family, split up El Filo into five lots (keeping one for himself and calling it “El Campo”). El Filo is split into eight lots, with Miguel’s son Dolmin most recently receiving his own plot to manage. In 2007, Miguel’s lot won 4th place at the CoE competition, with 90.6 points. In each subsequent year until 2010, his coffees placed well at competition. Motivated by the successes of his coffees and his neighbours’ successes (more than half of CoE winners were now coming from the Santa Barbara region), Miguel and his brothers began looking for a buyer for all the coffee produced at El Filo. The brothers have bought more land at a higher altitude and decided to plant more unique varieties there. Because production will substantially increase in the coming years, they have already invested in good quality equipment, which will be able to handle these increased volumes.

Due to his hard work, dedication, innovation and investments, we decided to enter into a long-term partnership with the entire Moreno family and in 2011, we received the first of these shipments.  And we are happy to say that cupping scores have increased year after year.

Although the Moreno brothers work closely together, the lots of each family member( his brothers and father)are processed separately, which is why we label each lot distinctly. Following from unique and individualized practices, each lot cups distinctly and differently.

We are proud and excited about the progress of these relationships and looking forward to even better quality coffee in the years ahead.


Background

Since the beginning of our work in Santa Barbara, Honduras, which started before CCS even existed through our sister-company KAFFA Oslo (a roaster), the relationships we’ve developed within this region have been some of the strongest and most exciting of all the relationships we have in all the coffee origins we work with.

What started out as purchasing coffee from a mere handful of farmers has expanded to our working with almost 40 producers across 4 municipalities. And the growth is only increasing, which is good since a high demand for these coffees have developed over the years. Still, there is more demand than there is supply and we still need to be scrutinizing and picky to get the really good stuff. The great news is that more and more farmers are becoming ambitious and know what the market is demanding.

Santa Barbara is an area that has, over the years, become recognized namely by some of the very same producers we have developed close ties with. And more broadly, Honduras has made a strong name for itself in the coffee world. For example, in this year’s Cup of Excellence (2016), Honduras was put on the map as an origin that has a variety of varieties that now include geisha. Some of these coffees are scoring the high 80s and are even reaching 90s, thus fetching historically high auction prices (worldwide) at +$120/lb.

There are three major developments that we are excited about sharing with respect to our work in Santa Barbara (SB) this year:

1) A new price agreement

We have raised the bar and so necessarily, the price. The fact that the market is still low should not matter to the long-standing and loyal producers of the greatest coffees around.

Our goal always from the beginning is to only buy 86+ point coffee. Practically, some of the lots we have purchased from SB have been at 85 points. In agreeing to work with someone long-term, there needs to be support even and, perhaps especially, during the times that not all the factors are at their optimal.

Today, we happily report that there are more 86-point coffees than ever before and consequently, we are raising prices for the considerable efforts made. We are paying more than ever. On the other hand, if the coffees are less than 86, we are also paying less.

The prices this year range from $3.00/lb to $4.50/lb FOB and in today’s market, these prices are very high. Our farmer partners not only expressed gratitude for our continued relationship and support but they are re-investing in land, facilities, their families and their children’s education. Some of the farmers we’ve worked with longest are truly prospering.

2) Deforestation is not accepted!

The demand for coffee has pressured/tempted an increasing number of farmers to cut adjacent natural forest in order to plant more coffee. The consequences of these practices are devastating and we have expressed a strict opposition to this. To be clear, CCS will not buy coffee from newly deforested areas and we’ve met with the mayor of one of the municipalities in order to show even more strength and support for this message.

3) Processing: drying & shade

As we’ve come to learn, one of the key factors in making good quality coffee is processing. It is also clear that the process itself, and the drying stage in particular, is making for a more or less long-lived cup quality. This is becoming increasingly important in SB as the international recognition for the area rises and the prices go up.

Roasters need for green coffee to keep up their quality months after arrival. A fading coffee feels demoralizing to all of us and is oftentimes not an understood or experienced phenomenon by the farmer. Some are educating themselves about this and taking the need for solutions seriously. 

As a general rule our partners have been implementing slower drying of the parchment under shade in order to protect it from direct sunlight during the first steps of the drying process. This has proven favorable.

Although this is currently one of the investments we are seeing in the field, just four years it was rare to see farmers drying their own coffee in the first place. These days, some are very proud of their being masters of the processing craft.

 

Producer Profile: Daniel Moreno

Patriarch Daniel Moreno

Patriarch Daniel Moreno

Name: El Campo
Location: El Cedral, Santa Barbara
Farm Size: 1.05 hectares
Altitude (masl): 1540
Average Rainfall (mm)
: 750
Processing: Washed
Variety: Pacas


About

Daniel Moreno is the patriarch of the Moreno family (father and grandfather to CCS producers Miguel, Danny, Jesus, Mario, Olvin, Gerardo and grandson, Dolmin Moreno) in El Cedral. Collectively, the family’s plantation is known as “El Filo”, which Daniel has divided into smaller plots for each of his sons and Dolmin. He retains his own plot, called "El Campo", which produces excellent quality coffee in its own right. Together with his sons’ and grandson’s lots, El Campo’s coffee is processed through the family’s mill, solar dryers and raised beds.

The villages Cielito, Cedral and Las Flores follow one after another along the mountain range in Santa Barbara. Grown on this hillside is mostly Pacas, a coffee species akin to Bourbon, as well as Yellow Catuaí and Pacamara. It is challenging to process coffee cherries in areas like these, which are close to the jungle and thus, to rain. The drying process, in particular, is especially demanding. But when these processes are precisely controlled, seemingly problematic factors (like drying under challenging conditions) are what make coffee from this area particularly interesting. The coffee produced here cups with flavour attributes not found anywhere else in Central America.


Background

Since the beginning of our work in Santa Barbara, Honduras, which started before CCS even existed through our sister-company KAFFA Oslo (a roaster), the relationships we’ve developed within this region have been some of the strongest and most exciting of all the relationships we have in all the coffee origins we work with.

What started out as purchasing coffee from a mere handful of farmers has expanded to our working with almost 40 producers across 4 municipalities. And the growth is only increasing, which is good since a high demand for these coffees have developed over the years. Still, there is more demand than there is supply and we still need to be scrutinizing and picky to get the really good stuff. The great news is that more and more farmers are becoming ambitious and know what the market is demanding.

Santa Barbara is an area that has, over the years, become recognized namely by some of the very same producers we have developed close ties with. And more broadly, Honduras has made a strong name for itself in the coffee world. For example, in this year’s Cup of Excellence (2016), Honduras was put on the map as an origin that has a variety of varieties that now include geisha. Some of these coffees are scoring the high 80s and are even reaching 90s, thus fetching historically high auction prices (worldwide) at +$120/lb.

There are three major developments that we are excited about sharing with respect to our work in Santa Barbara (SB) this year:

1) A new price agreement

We have raised the bar and so necessarily, the price. The fact that the market is still low should not matter to the long-standing and loyal producers of the greatest coffees around.

Our goal always from the beginning is to only buy 86+ point coffee. Practically, some of the lots we have purchased from SB have been at 85 points. In agreeing to work with someone long-term, there needs to be support even and, perhaps especially, during the times that not all the factors are at their optimal.

Today, we happily report that there are more 86-point coffees than ever before and consequently, we are raising prices for the considerable efforts made. We are paying more than ever. On the other hand, if the coffees are less than 86, we are also paying less.

The prices this year range from $3.00/lb to $4.50/lb FOB and in today’s market, these prices are very high. Our farmer partners not only expressed gratitude for our continued relationship and support but they are re-investing in land, facilities, their families and their children’s education. Some of the farmers we’ve worked with longest are truly prospering.

2) Deforestation is not accepted!

The demand for coffee has pressured/tempted an increasing number of farmers to cut adjacent natural forest in order to plant more coffee. The consequences of these practices are devastating and we have expressed a strict opposition to this. To be clear, CCS will not buy coffee from newly deforested areas and we’ve met with the mayor of one of the municipalities in order to show even more strength and support for this message.

3) Processing: drying & shade

As we’ve come to learn, one of the key factors in making good quality coffee is processing. It is also clear that the process itself, and the drying stage in particular, is making for a more or less long-lived cup quality. This is becoming increasingly important in SB as the international recognition for the area rises and the prices go up.

Roasters need for green coffee to keep up their quality months after arrival. A fading coffee feels demoralizing to all of us and is oftentimes not an understood or experienced phenomenon by the farmer. Some are educating themselves about this and taking the need for solutions seriously. 

As a general rule our partners have been implementing slower drying of the parchment under shade in order to protect it from direct sunlight during the first steps of the drying process. This has proven favorable.

Although this is currently one of the investments we are seeing in the field, just four years it was rare to see farmers drying their own coffee in the first place. These days, some are very proud of their being masters of the processing craft.

 

Santa Barbara, Honduras 2016 update

Yojoa Lake & Santa Barbara Mountain

Yojoa Lake & Santa Barbara Mountain

Since the beginning of our work in Santa Barbara, Honduras, which even started before CCS existed, through our sister-company KAFFA Oslo (a roaster), the relationships we’ve developed within this region have been some of the strongest and most exciting of all the relationships we have in all the coffee origins we work with.

What started out as purchasing coffee from a mere handful of farmers has expanded to our working with almost 40 producers across 4 municipalities. And the growth is only increasing, which is good since a high demand for these coffees have developed over the years. Still, there is more demand than there is supply and we still need to be scrutinizing and picky to get the really good stuff. The great news is that more and more farmers are becoming ambitious and know what the market is demanding.

Santa Barbara is an area that has, over the years, become recognized namely by some of the very same producers we have developed close ties with. And more broadly, Honduras has made a strong name for itself in the coffee world. For example, in this year’s Cup of Excellence (2016), Honduras was put on the map as an origin that has a variety of varieties that now include geisha. Some of these coffees are scoring the high 80s and are even reaching 90s, thus fetching historically high auction prices (worldwide) at +$120/lb.

View from El Guayabo, the plot that produced one of the best coffees from Santa Barbara this season

View from El Guayabo, the plot that produced one of the best coffees from Santa Barbara this season

There are three major developments that we are excited about sharing with respect to our work in Santa Barbara (S.B.) this year:

1) A new price agreement

We have raised the bar and so necessarily, the price. The fact that the market is still low should not matter to the long-standing and loyal producers of the greatest coffees around.

Our goal always from the beginning is to only buy 86+ point coffee. Practically, some of the lots we have purchased from SB have been at 85 points. In agreeing to work with someone long-term, there needs to be support even and perhaps especially during the times that all factors are not at their optimal.

Today, we happily report that there are more 86-point coffees than ever and consequently, we are raising prices for the considerable efforts made. So we are both paying more than ever. On the other hand, if the coffees are less than 86, we are also paying less.

The price and score breakdown

The price and score breakdown

The prices this year range from $3.00/lb to $4.50/lb FOB and in today’s market, these prices are very high. Our farmer partners not only expressed gratitude for our continued relationship and support but they are re-investing in land, facilities, their families and their children’s education. Some of the farmers we’ve worked with longest are truly prospering.

CCS' strongest Santa Barbara allies: the Moreno family

CCS' strongest Santa Barbara allies: the Moreno family

2) Deforestation is not accepted!

The demand for coffee has pressured/tempted an increasing number of farmers to cut adjacent natural forest in order to plant more coffee. The consequences of these practices are devastating and we have expressed a strict opposition to this. To be clear, CCS will not buy coffee from newly deforested areas and we have had meeting with the mayor of one of the municipalities in order to get even support for this message.

Some negative effects from deforestation

Some negative effects from deforestation

Another sad image about deforestation and its effects

Another sad image about deforestation and its effects

A gentlemen's agreement: no forest killing! The Morenos are in agreement and will help communicate this important message around the community

A gentlemen's agreement: no forest killing! The Morenos are in agreement and will help communicate this important message around the community

3) Processing: drying & shade

As we’ve come to learn, one of the key factors in making good quality coffee is processing. It is also clear that the process itself, and the drying stage in particular, is making for a more or less long-lived cup quality. This is becoming increasingly important in S.B. as the international recognition for the area rises and the prices go up.

Roasters need for green coffee to keep up their quality months after arrival. A fading coffee feels demoralizing to all of us and is oftentimes not an understood or experienced phenomenon by the farmer. Some are educating themselves about this and taking the need for solutions seriously.

As a general rule our partners have been implementing drying slower and under shade in order to protect parchment from direct sunlight in the first steps of the drying process. This has proven favorable.

Although this is currently one of the investments we are seeing in the field, just four years it was rare to see farmers drying their own coffee in the first place. These days, some are very proud of their being masters of the processing craft.

- Robert

Mario Moreno w/ his new drying beds now with shade

Mario Moreno w/ his new drying beds now with shade

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