After a long flight over the Icelandic volcano and spending an unwanted day in Panama waiting for my flight to Honduras, I finally made it to San Pedro Sula, 36 hours behind schedule. Nevertheless, my plan to visit Cielito Lindo was not affected, and I have to admit that I was very excited but also a bit afraid that my expectations were too high before my visit to the farm we have bought coffee from twice at the Cup of Excellence auction. I guess that not being able to communicate directly with the farmer and also hoping that he would be the “perfect farmer” was making this visit extra exciting and nerve wrecking for me.
Afer a 2 hour drive from San Pedro Sula, I finally met with Mr. Extreberto’s son who kindly showed me around his farm and then his father’s farm. I have to say that not only is their coffee beautiful, but it is grown in one of the most beautiful farms I have ever been to. The landscape is breathtaking and really impressive. I spent over 4 hours walking from 1500 m.a.sl. to 1800 m.a.sl. struggeling to get both up and down because of the extremely steep hills. I can only imagine how hard it must be carrying a lot of coffee on your shoulders walking up and down these hills, and Mr. Extreberto does it every day at the age of 71. To be honest, I was exhausted after the first 100 meters, but the beautiful scenery just made me want to see more.
Well, enough of the romantic rant. To my surprise they were still picking coffee on the farm. The climate has been changing in Honduras during the past years, and we are starting to see a similar situation to what Kenya and Colombia is having with 2 harvests per year. At Cielito Lindo they start picking coffee in november and they finish in may. That is a very long harvest and by the looks of it they are going to have a tiny harvest in late august as well, due to some rains that occured some months ago.
Another interesting thing is that they grow a lot of different varieties, and have competed in the Cup of Excellence with great results both with their Catuaí and their Catimor varietals. Up until now they have normally been blending these 2 varietals, but I suggested that they separate the varietals next year, so that we will be able to taste them side by side. They also grow some Bourbon and Pacas and are looking in to other varietals too. The biggest issue with separating these varietals from each other is not during the picking, but the lack of drying space makes it difficult not to mix them up. They need to invest in new solar dryers (raised drying beds) as they have very limited drying space. Hopefully we will be able to help them invest in this by purchasing some more of their coffee this year.
I have asked for some samples of their harvest, and apart from the coffee they have delivered for the Cup of Excellence it looks like they will have 20 more bags for us to buy if the quality is satisfying. So I am very happy that we have the opportunity to continue buying coffee from Mr. Extreberto and his son, and hopefully we will see more of their coffees in the future.
Well, that was a short report from a very interesting day. I am absolutely beat after a long day at the farm and a 5 hour drive from Cielito Lindo to Santa Rosa, Copan, where I will be staying for 2 days cupping coffee and visiting some other farmers. On monday th Cup of Excellence is on, and I can’t wait to taste all those coffees.
More pictures below.