This season we have started working with producers in two upcoming growing regions with great potential for specialty lots – Honduras in Central America and Antioquia in Colombia. We are very excited about these new projects and look forward to sharing our latest finds.
Honduras isn’t strictly a new origin for us. We have brought in Cup of Excellence lots and a few other single farm/estate coffees on and off since the COE launched in the country in 2004. However, we have struggled to find a reliable supplier and have sometimes been disappointed with the quality of our arrivals.
There’s no disputing the potential that Honduras has as a specialty producer (just look at the success of its neighbours, who share many of the same geographic and climatic conditions) – so this year we decided that it was time to invest in some proper Honduran coffee hunting! In March José (our sourcing manager) spent a very rewarding week in Honduras, cupping and relationship-building. The result is that this season (11/12) we are working with a new partner who has put us in touch with a handful of small producers whose coffees we love, and who have previously struggled to secure access to the specialty market. You can check out our new arrivals from Honduras here – these farms, located in various growing regions across the country, display a good mix of profiles, from sugary sweet, round, mild and medium-bodied to a more acidic, juicy, bright and plummy cup.
This is obviously the first year that we have shipped in any volume from Honduras – and the project has been something of an experiment. We look forward to expanding and improving our Honduran sourcing next year and beyond. You can read more about Honduran coffee, its challenges and its strengths, on our country info page.
A second new project that we’re really excited about is our partnership with a growers’ group in Colombia’s western cordillera mountains, in southwestern Antioquia (a few hours from the city of Medellin). We have obviously been sourcing coffees from Colombia for many years now – but this is a new growing region for us and we think it has a lot of potential.
Stephen (Mercanta’s founder) has spent several months in Colombia over the past year strengthening our sourcing operation out there and was thrilled when he discovered this extremely well organised growers’ cooperative in Antioquia. This year we have brought in two lots from the mitaca (fly crop) through this group from two very different farms – El Tapado – whose area under coffee totals 4.5 hectares – and La Cascada , a 279 hectare family estate that dates back to 1895. Again, this is a project that we hope to continue and build on in years to come. Watch this space for Colombia’s main crop lots!
We very much hope you enjoy these new arrivals – and would love any feedback that you can give us on the coffees.