By Elizabetta Tekeste
Let's travel out of Africa to discover the coffee of Central America. I would like to begin with Honduras, because it is the first country I visited on the subcontinent and is very fresh on my palette and on my mind.
Historically, Honduras struggled to get its name on the map as good coffee producers. Mostly due to lack of infrastructure, despite ideal climate and geographic conditions. The result was low-end coffee, which yielded low prices. As a consequence, monies were not available to improve the organizational structures and implement more effective methods of growing, processing and transporting coffee. A frustrating Catch-22 to say the least, until this country got a bit help.
A few years ago USAID and Fintrac started a campaign with local co-ops to educate farmers in drying, milling and shipping beans more efficiently. Overtime they produced a better cup and were ready for their very first Cup of Excellence (see here for more information) by 2004. Honduras, now consistently produces delicious coffee with fragrant bouquets and less acidity. And the farmers are experiencing higher coffee prices than even before.
America's recent trend towards micro-roasteries (see my article here) encourages their efforts by supplying buyers for this new high-end coffee creating a more favorable Catch-22!
So it seems we can make a positive difference in a foreign country just with the coffee we purchase!
Until next week, breathe well and be well!