Las Sonrisas is a social impact initiative based in San Marcos de Ocotepeque, Honduras. This project is helmed by our importing partners, RGC, and is part of their global sustainability program, RGC 3E. Several other Honduran and international organizations have allied with RGC for this project, focusing on womens’ empowerment, child protection, entrepreneurship training, and improved coffee agricultural practices. There are currently 556 families in San Marcos participating in the project.
With the vast majority of global child labour taking place broadly within the agricultural sector, Las Sonrisas implements a holistic, family-centric approach to creating supportive structures that prevent this from happening. Their key strategies are administering women-empowerment workshops, educating community members about childrens’ rights and child labour laws, supporting family entrepreneurship that encourages women and youth participation, providing agricultural training to increase productivity and crop resiliency, and creating a childcare center to keep kids safe and stimulated during particularly active periods of the year.
As with our previous decaffeinated offering, this selection undergoes the Swiss Water Process to remove the caffeine. Starting off as a clean, well-produced washed coffee, it was then transported to western Canada, where Swiss Water is located. SWP is the most common form of decaffeination for specialty coffees, involving the extraction of caffeine molecules by immersion in a liquid made out of fresh water and all the soluble solids within coffee, aside from the caffeine. SWP refers to this solution as “Green Coffee Extract,” or GCE. After cleaning and rehydrating the coffee, it spends eight to ten hours soaking in the GCE, which naturally absorbs the caffeine molecules from the green coffee. Finally, the caffeine is removed through a proprietary carbon filtration system, and in SWP’s own words, “the carbon is sent to a regeneration furnace to burn away the caffeine, so that it can be reused.” The coffee is then redried, and shipped. Altogether, this process is done as sustainably as possible, and incredible care is taken to preserve as much of the coffee’s original flavor profile as can be. In the cup, we taste licorice, lemon, and fig.