The Honduras Collection
A collection of three coffees, processed in different ways, from three different growers of the COMSA cooperative.
Size: 3 x 300g
Producers: Oscar Omar Alonzo, José Julio Nolasco, Deicy Victoria Romero
Varieties:Catuaí, Lempira, Parainema, Icatú, Pache and Ihcafe 90
Process: 1 natural, 1 washed, 1 honey processed
Elevation: 1513-1750 masl
For 20 years, COMSA has been promoting excellence in coffees produced in and around Marcala, La Paz, Honduras.
The COMSA (Café Orgánico Marcala) cooperative, facilitates sale of coffee from its producer members, the majority of which are growing organic certified coffees. Sustainability is an integral part of COMSA's vision and mission. The organisation is invested in social and educational programmes for the betterment of their community, as well as promoting sustainable agricultural practices.
For this collection, we chose three coffees, each from different producer members of COMSA, each using different processing methods on their farms. These producers are 3 of the 1,600 members that make up the co-op.
Finca Cual Bicicleta and Finca Suita are both certified organic coffees, and Finca Victoria is working towards organic certification, through the assistance and training provided by COMSA.
Finca Cual Bicicleta - Washed
Oscar Omar Alonzo has been growing coffee for more than 20 years. His farm, Finca “Cual Bicleta” (“Which Bicycle”) was named as a reflection of Oscar’s attitude to life: ‘When you ride a bicycle, you are not polluting, you must keep balance. The bicycle is designed to move forward, not backwards, and all the pieces and parts must work together perfectly so that you can keep moving.’
Finca Cual Bicicleta is managed by Oscar and his son Melvin, a fourth generation of coffee farmer. In 2003 after approaching COMSA, Oscar learned about the benefits of organic farming and decided to transition his farm into organic production.
Since then, Oscar has invested in the farm, using elements of organic and biodynamic farming to increase the farm's annual yield. When the harvest period is over, this farm becomes a community school where Oscar teaches children within the community about organic farming.
This washed process coffee was handpicked, with only the ripe red cherries being harvested. After harvest, the coffee was depulped, washed and sorted at the local mill. The coffee was sun dried in Oscar’s solar dryer, on raised beds, for 18 days.
Finca Suita - Natural
Finca Suita, a small organic certified farm in Santa Catarina, Honduras, was started byJosé Julio Nolasco in June of 1995. José Julio, 78 years young, works daily at Finca Suita. Together with his wife, María Suita Bautista, The Nolascos have built a multi-generational coffee farming family business; their youngest son, their daughter and grandson own coffee farms in the area, as well as their granddaughter Suita, who works directly with COMSA cooperative. José Julio is a 3rd generation coffee farmer, his grandfather was a pioneer coffee producer in Marcala, La Paz, Honduras.
On the farm, environmentally friendly practices are used to protect the flora and fauna. The farm also grows tilapia fish at small scale, poultry, and egg production and cultivation of corn, kidney beans, guava, peaches, oranges, and apples in small scale to satisfy basic needs of the family. The farm is surrounded by a natural barrier of pine trees that helps to prevent damage from the frequent strong winds of the area.
Only ripe coffee cherries are handpicked by a neighbor family who live in Santa Catarina. Once harvested, the whole coffee cherries are laid on raised beds in a solar dryer at the farm. While the coffees are drying, José Julio double checks and removes any unripe, overripe, or dry cherries to ensure that the quality is top notch. Once the coffee cherries are dry, Julio delivers them to COMSA cooperative to be milled and sorted for export.
Finca Victoria - Honey
Finca Victoria was started in 1986, by Deicy Victoria and her husband Raúl Gutiérrez. Finca Victoria, is named in Deicy Victoria's honour.
When Raúl passed away in 2006, Deicy took control of the farm. With a renewed focus, she now produces one of the highest rated coffees in the area. Her coffee is characterized by its quality, and outstanding flavour characteristics. Finca Victoria has become an example for other producers in the area to follow and a model of a family-run farm.
At harvest, only the ripest cherries are handpicked. The cherries are washed and floated to remove any faulty cherries and any other foreign matter. After being density sorted, the coffee cherries are depulped and then set in a short pile to rest for a day. Once rested, the coffee is moved to raised beds in a solar dryer, where the coffee will be turned for the next 14-21 days until the coffee is dry.