In 2014, our roastery director, Jesse Bladyka, visited Honduras to participate in evaluating some of that nation’s best coffees at the Cup of Excellence competition. Honduras has a long history of coffee production, and coffee accounts for about fifteen percent of their export economy. Until recently, the focus of export has been quantity and there has been very little known about the actual coffee producers. With the help of programs like Cup of Excellence, as well as the commitment of Honduran national initiatives to promote quality, this is changing rapidly. During his visit, Jesse met Nancy Hernandez Contreras, a fellow coffee judge who was one of three Honduran coffee professionals selected to participate in the international stage of the Cup of Excellence. It turns out that in addition to being a talented coffee taster, Nancy also owns and operates a cafe and roastery in the town of Marcala, about three hours west of Tegucigalpa. As if cupping, roasting and serving coffee were not enough to keep this young mother busy, she has also been building her dream of owning a coffee farm. Nancy’s farm is covered in diverse shade and her individual care for each coffee plant is easy to observe by the overall health and maintenance of the farm. For the past six years, Nancy has been working to improve the quality of her processing in a way that reduces water use and presents a brighter, more accessible cup. Like California, Honduras is prone to periods of drought and Nancy is on the forefront of efforts to reduce the water that is used to produce washed coffees. In addition to her process innovation, she has worked to organize youth in Honduras to rejuvenate forests that have been damaged by a bark beetle outbreak brought on by these droughts. Finca Jazmin is about three acres in size and is managed by Nancy with the help of her brothers, her husband Arturo, and her daughters Angelica & Luciana Jazmin who is named after the farm. She is slowly adding to her production, focusing on traditional varieties and specialty quality coffees. She is part of COMSA (Cafe Organico Marcala), a group that focuses on sustainable coffee production, and promotes organic farming. Nancy uses only organic farm management techniques, and is in the process of implementing biodynamic farming principles throughout her farm.
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