Honduras is one of our most important coffee-growing countries – around one-fifth of our raw coffee comes from Honduran plantations. However, it is also one of the poorest countries in Central America and is currently facing a lot of social, economical and political challenges. Nevertheless, by directly working together with local coffee farmers and partners we see great opportunities to have a positive impact. That is why we started our Passion Project in 2016 with one particular place in Honduras: La Laguna, a small village in the north-west of the country. Get to know the people of La Laguna, their work and all the steps our coffee is taking – covering everything from cultivation over processing to the transport.
Good coffee isn’t something that is created in your cup – it is the result of a long process that begins with the people who grow the coffee. This is why, for a number of years already, sustainability has played such an important role in all that we do, whether through long-term partnerships with suppliers or the UTZ certification of our coffee varieties. Now we are ready to take the next step: since the start of 2016, we have been working with local partners to support the “La Laguna“ project in Honduras. “La Laguna” is really all about the 300 coffee growers who we are cooperating with directly – they are the true stars of this project.
Welcome to La Laguna, a small village in the north-west of Honduras. In terms of quality, the Latin American country is able to compete with the world’s biggest coffee-producing countries. The country’s speciality is traditional washed Arabica coffee, which is also drunk by the natives at home or in one of the growing number of coffee bars.
The residents of La Laguna are friendly people with a great sense of community, always ready to pitch in whenever a friend needs help. Some will tell you how their ancestors worked together to build their village over a century ago. In fact, there is a fascinating life story behind every smiling face here. What unites them above all is their love for their home – and in particular, their coffee.
The UTZ certification process for our farmers in La Laguna is well under way. As part of this, the coffee growers are undertaking training in cultivation and harvesting techniques and learning what is important in producing high-quality coffee. But learning good farm management is just as important! Keeping accurate control of the accounts is critical for staying on top of income and expenditure and reducing production costs.
The way the coffee beans are removed from the cherry greatly affects the quality of the coffee. That is why we place special emphasis on the processing method. Professional, centralised processing facilities, known as “Beneficios”, are perfect for ensuring a consistently high quality of the coffee. In Honduras, however, a large part of the coffee is still processed individually by smallholders.
When it comes to coffee supply chains in Honduras, there are a number of issues. When intermediaries get involved, processes are no longer transparent and it becomes difficult to ensure traceability. Furthermore, at times these intermediaries push prices down by falsely claiming that the quality levels are unsatisfactory, or else they cheat when weighing goods. That is why we rely solely on direct partnerships when it comes to transport and sales.
When partnerships bear fruit: sustainability doesn’t just have a name – it has a taste now, too! Thanks to the new pulper for which we provided financing, not only is up to 80% less water used when preparing the coffee cherries in comparison to doing things by hand, but the quality of the resulting coffee is better as well. Learn more about our coffee directly from La Laguna.
The initial results from our project in Honduras can now be enjoyed in an aromatic and delicious cup of outstanding coffee. Looking back over a period of almost two years, we are pleased to report that we have already achieved a great deal. At the same time, we want to look ahead. Where will the direct cooperation with the farmers in La Laguna take us in future? In an interview, CEO Raphael Gugerli reveals how the journey will continue.