This year’s lot comes to us from Señora Blanca Rosa, owner of a 6 hectare farm in the Celaque region in the West of Honduras. Coincidentally, one of the lots we purchased last year came to us from Frances, one of Blanca’s sons, who supplied us with an incredible 72hr macerated lot which you may have enjoyed! San Francisco is the name of the farm and coffee grows here totally organically and has done so since the 1970s when Blanca and her husband Arturo purchased the land. Many varieties of bananas, lemons, oranges, limes, guava and other native fruit and vegetables grow here amongst the coffee. There are also numerous beehives from which the family harvest honey for their own consumption and to sell locally to diversify their income streams away from just coffee – a sensible move given the increasing number of obstacles that are cropping up through climate change and a volatile market price.
This year’s coffee harvest was very challenging due to excessive rains during the picking season and a lack of farmworkers available to help gather in the cherry. This meant that the yields nationally have been impacted, with many cherries left to mature excessively on the tree or being knocked to the floor through the excessive rainfall.
By participating in the micro lot program, Blanca has increased the income she is able to access through her coffee crop despite the decreases she has experienced in the amount of coffee produced. Given the relatively low altitude on her farm, it was decided that her coffee would be at its best as a naturally processed lot to best accentuate the natural sweetness and body of the coffee. Blanca oversaw the harvesting of her cherries at the perfect point of ripeness and delivered them to the Aruco milling station which is situated at 800 metres above sea level and is less impacted by regular rainfall which can make drying the cherries challenging. Upon delivery, the team at Aruco took the sugar content of the cherries using a Brix refractometer before deciding how long to macerate the cherries for before drying. In the case of this lot, the cherries were placed into sealed barrels to macerate anaerobically for 90 hours before being dried on raised beds for 25 days where they were turned once an hour to bring about even drying. This extra stage of maceration stimulates more fermentation activity within the coffee which has ultimately caused the resulting cup profile. Upon tasting this coffee for the first time, we almost couldn’t believe how incredible it was! The profile reminded us of some of the Geisha coffee we have been privileged to taste from Panama with just as much complexity. It is a coffee that maintains its intensity from the dry fragrance right the way to the cool with distinctive aromas of strawberry, mango, pineapple and a touch of funky overripe banana! This is an unbelievable coffee with so much flavour to offer, perfectly highlighting the innovation that is happening in the industry right now to bring about better pricing for the producers who are working so unbelievably hard to bring us these outstanding coffees. We hope you enjoy!