Organic Honduras | Marcala
Cupping Notes: A light-bodied and incredibly sweet and smooth cup, with notes of cantaloupe, strawberry, peach jam, orange and white tea. A balanced brew with honey notes of syrupy sweet milk chocolate and reminiscent of almonds and warm caramel with lemon lingering to finish
Story of the Farm:
When Honduran farmers wanted to reform the way coffee was grown, they joined together with a common goal to transform their farms from conventional to organic production, they formed COMSA (Café Organico Marcala, S.A.). In 2001, COMSA earned their organic certification from Bio Latina which has enabled them to market their coffee to more international buyers and realize better selling prices for their coffee, in 2006 achieved Fair Trade certification status.
Today, they have 1200+ members, and there is a waiting list to join the cooperative —providing much-needed employment to many local farmers and workers, and using the premium they gain from their excellent product for important social projects in their communities. Many of the members belong to the indigenous Lenca tribe who brought their traditional sustainable organic farming practices along with them.
COMSA uses the Fair Trade price premium to fund many social projects including: paying teachers’ salaries, purchasing school supplies, finances, the construction of kitchens in the schools in support of the Merienda Escolar program that provides meals for school children.
Quality is the main focus of COMSA—farmers are paid based on the scores they earn on their crops and given tools and training to increase quality. Now, composted fertilizer is processed on-site from cascara (the cherry/pulp of the coffee bean) and other organic materials, and is given to members for free. This potent fertilizer is extremely necessary both for the health of the soil and the quality of the coffee grown. COMSA cooperative adheres to the basics of the compost/fermentation process known as the “5 M’s” theory of organic agriculture:
- Materials Organicos (organic material aerates the soil and also contains the necessary components to create rich new soil material)
- Micro-Organismos (fungus, bacteria, and other microorganisms that decompose the organic material in soil)
- Molecules (the molecules and amino acids that form during fermentation to strengthen the soil and plants)
- Minerales (minerals from the mountains around the farm)
- Material Gris (grey matter, aka Brain Power—all ideas start here!)
Now recognized as innovators in organic techniques—from carbon sequestration, to methods of drying harvested coffee, to the recycling of wastewater—they share their practices with neighboring countries to find organic solutions to problems such as coffee rust.