The Producer and Farm
Gerardo Mejia is a third-generation coffee farmer and the owner of Finca El Tontolo. He is one of the member producers of Cafés Especiales Mercedes Ocotepeque (CAFESMO). Varieties grown between 1150 and 1300 of his 21-hectare farmland are Parainema, Catuai, and Anacafé-14. Local trees, as well as banana and orange, cover most of the plantation in shade.
The Coffee and Process
The Parainema variety is a hybrid bred for its resistance to coffee rust disease and nematodes. Previously more recognized for its resilience and yield productivity, it has been
gaining more attention for good cup quality. Its commendable flavor potential was confirmed
when it won in the 2017 Honduran Cup of Excellence.
After picking the ripest cherries, they are sorted and cleaned, and then sent to the CAFESMO facility for processing. The cherries are laid out to dry on the patio and raked at regular intervals to ensure evenness until the needed humidity level is reached. This phase may take 20 to 30 days. Care is taken to safeguard the quality and marketability of the coffee, to avoid instances of the beans breaking if they get too dry or spoiling if they stay too moist.
CAFESMO is a collective of 250+ smallholder farmers based in the Honduran coffee-growing region close to Guatemala and El Salvador.
Their coffee farms are bordered by the country’s highest peaks, Cerro Pital in the west, and the Guisayote National Reserve and the Pacayita volcano on the other side. The mountainous topography creates micro-climates beneficial to different coffees, such as Parainema, Pacas, Lempira, Catuaí, Obatá, Colombia, and IHCAFE90.
Their members’ harvests are processed in their own centralized facility, which has a wet mill, drying patios, a dry mill, and a cupping lab.