Honduras Collective Pilot

In Coffee Farming, News & Research by Karl Wienhold

For the last 6 months we have been working on replicating the small farmers’ collective model to Honduras in order to give specialty coffee producers in the Danlí region the same direct access to international markets as we have been fortunate enough to be able to offer farmers in Colombia for the last few years.

This initiative is lead by Sean Warner, a resident of Danlí, in the southeastern region of Honduras.  He is extremely dedicated to his community and joined our movement out of a desire to sustainably improve the quality of life in the area. With Honduran coffee trading at par and little access to specialty markets or knowledge of specialty processing techniques for smallholders in the area, Sean realized that a little elbow grease and the formation of partnerships with roasters like the ones that work with DOT could significantly improve the economic situation for farmers in the community.

To be honest, I was skeptical of the cup quality potential after learning about the processing culture in the area.  I was even more skeptical when I learned that most of the interested producers were growing the Parainema varietal, in the Sarchimor family (those letters I-M-O-R together used to make me quiver).  However, we were all pleasantly surprized and I, for one, had my foot in my mouth when I cupped the second cutting from these farms.  They are complex, smooth, floral, and fruity!  Just 3 weeks ago, a Parainema varietal from a farm right in Danlí department won the Cup of Excellence, and one of the Parainema lots we have placed as a finalist!

This year, as a pilot, we brought 67 bags of tasty Honduran coffee to the US from 6 farms and are hopeful that roasters take interest and that we can continue to expand the program to support more small producers in the coming years.