At the end of 2016, one of our importers, Falcon Specialty launched a project in the Copan region of Honduras, in collaboration with a small co-op – Aruco – where they supplied training, technical support and expertise. The project was focused on producing high-quality micro lots at a centralised mill, giving small producers access to speciality markets and quality price premiums. 25 small producers, with farms ranging in size between 1 and 5 hectares, were supported in the production of these micro lots.
Key areas of improvement were in cherry selection and picking, processing and drying. Through the development of a micro lot picking team shared by the 25 producers, we were able to increase the percentage of ripe cherries picked from 55% to 85%. Cherries were then delivered to a centralised mill, where they could control quality, processing and drying. A grading system was established at the mill, so lots could be rated and producers paid a different price for the quality of cherry selection. A cleaning team would then pass over the cherries, refining the selection to increase the final ripe cherry proportion to over 95% for all micro lots.
Falcon provided training for the technical staff at the mill on a range of processing methods and taught them how to use the solar driers to control drying time and temperature in order to maintain quality and longevity. Falcon created a set of documents to record data which can then be reviewed in relation to cup scores and longevity over a number of years, in order to better understand the effect of different variables on quality over time.
In addition, producers were provided with a number of different financial support packages, allowing them to cover the additional costs of picking only ripe cherries, and to manage their cash flow. This project resulted in an additional $60,840 being paid for the coffee (on top of the FTO market price at the time of purchase) in quality premiums to the 25 producers that took part in this project. The average cup score on all lots from these producers improved by an incredible 3.45 points (SCAA).
AeroPress, V60, Chemex, French Press as well as Espresso