Reiniel Ramirez is a second-generation coffee farmer in Selguapa, Honduras. His father, Antonio, began working with coffee in 1985, when he happened upon Typica and Bourbon trees on his property. At that time, theirs was a very sparsely populated community high in the Comayagua Mountains, which has grown modestly to about 1,500 inhabitants nowadays, 800 of whom produce coffee.
At 16, Reiniel took over a small plot of land alongside his father’s farm. He’s come to call this parcel “Los Derrumbos” - “the landslides” - a somewhat alarming allusion to the soft, clay soil’s tendency to slide from the farm’s steep position in the mountains. Starting with only 1,800 trees, Reiniel spent many years selling his coffee to local buyers for unsustainably low prices. For very many coffee producers, this is reality. Despite poor earnings, it can be insurmountably difficult to access other buyers, and without sufficient reliability for returns on the types of investment that might court them, this pattern prevails. Oftentimes, talented farmers with remarkably well-situated farms simply lack the logistical luck of meeting buyers who will pay fair prices for their coffee.
In 2018, Reiniel, his brothers, and their small group within the coffee-growing community in Selguapa, benefited tremendously from another community member, Jesus Galeas, working for the Honduran Coffee Institute (IHCAFE). From there, Jesus met Rony Gomez, who runs Cafe Raga, a producers’ association that played a role in the Honduran coffee that we purchased last year, as well. Together, Rony and Jesus implemented training on a range of premium-focused qualitative improvements, from cherry collection to fermentation to drying. These practices have been reinforced with infrastructure investments - a new eco-pulper, ten times as many drying beds, and freshly tiled fermentation tanks. And though this group of twenty-five producers represents just a small portion of the eight-hundred farmers in their area, their rapid progress bodes well for their neighbours, who now have a nearby example of coffee’s potential to be a more viable, sustainable source of income for their families. This year, in addition to featuring Reiniel’s own lot, we also purchased a blended lot from four other community members, a bit earlier in their specialty coffee trajectories, and this sort of evolution is exactly what we are thrilled to see taking place in Honduras.
When brewed, this coffee has a truly explosive fragrance, with potent fruit aromatics and guilt-inducingly sweet, nutty flavors. In the cup, we taste peach, lime, and praline.