Selguapa is a small town nestled in the Comayagua Mountains of Honduras. With a population of about 1,500, most of the families here regard coffee among their core livelihoods, though it has certainly not always been lucrative enough to provide stability for the community. Over the last several years, however, through positive collaborations both domestically and abroad, the production of specialty coffee is increasingly proving its ability to earn real revenue, and consequently encouraging younger generations to stick around, rather than migrating elsewhere for superior opportunities.
We were first introduced to this community in 2020, through our Montreal-based importing and producer advocacy partners, Semilla Coffee. We started this relationship by featuring a selection from one particular farmer whose quality has already proven itself, and whose success and diligence have been a hallmark of coffee’s potential for the broader community (Reiniel Ramirez, rejoining our menu in October). With this selection, however, which Semilla has affectionately titled Sueños de Selguapa (Selguapa Dreams), we are thrilled to be supporting some of these community members who are earlier in their progressions toward top-quality coffee production. These four producers are Abdon Montoya, Jose Efrain Gonzalez, Jorge Matias Hernandez, and Oscar Aguilar del Cid. For three of these farmers and their families, 2021 was their first year processing their own coffee all the way from fruit to dried parchment. By taking ownership over more of the process, these producers are aspiring toward a higher quality ceiling, higher income ceiling, and heightened agency over their own distinct products. While this pathway is ultimately an effective way of maximizing the return that a farmer can secure from their own plants, it is challenging, and typically takes several seasons to refine to the point of micro-lot quality production and premiums. By blending some of these together, each producer is able to earn significantly more than they would by selling their cherries into large, aggregated lots curated by intermediaries, and the result is a delicious, versatile, and exciting option for a roaster like Dispatch.
Measuring success in a coffee-producing community is never simple or straightforward, but we have reason to believe that the work Semilla is doing in Selguapa is imparting meaningful positive impact to the families that call it home. Although migration out of Honduras remains a massive reality, with remittances from abroad comprising a startling portion of the country’s overall GDP, Selguapa’s hard-earned success is beginning to challenge this trend for coffee-growing families. In Semilla’s own words, “these producers and their families have something to be proud of and look forward to, such that putting themselves in great risk doesn’t become a necessity for them.” In the years ahead, we look forward to deepening our understanding of and connection to Selguapa even more.
In the cup, we taste coconut cream, pear, and cashew.