Hints of cherry balanced by an almond-flavored, dark chocolate body with a sweet caramel finish. This bean is much livelier than what is thought of as a typical Honduran coffee. It is bright, syrupy sweet, and energetic. Honduran coffee usually has a more laid-back character than this offering. The fragrance of the brewed coffee is reminiscent of almonds and warm caramel with lemon lingering in the finish. This is not a heavy coffee, but it has a pleasant intensity and brightness that is memorable.
Roast: Dark Medium
Processing: Washed & Sun Dried on Shaded Raised Beds
Altitude: 1700 - 2200 M.A.S.L.
Harvest: December to March
12 oz. Handcrafted Fair Trade/Organic Coffee
Café Organico Marcala (COMSA) was founded in December of 2001 with a vision of creating new and alternative development opportunities for small-scale coffee farmers in the region of Marcala, Honduras. The organization originally brought together 69 small-scale farmers of Lenca origin who were interested in selling their coffee collectively under the umbrella of a rural credit union.
At that time, the predominant production system in the region used conventional (chemical) practices and sold to the local coyotes, often at prices that did not even cover the farmers’ production costs. One primary founding objectives of COMSA was to seek out and promote new ways of thinking – both in production, moving from conventional to organic production, and in markets, moving from commercial to specialty buyers.
In the beginning the challenges were enormous, as transitioning from conventional to organic practices can cause dramatic drops in production yields. Many members became discouraged and dropped out of the organization. In response, the COMSA Board of Directors and technical team looked for new methods of intensive organics to support their transition and established a strategic alliance with (Corporacion Educativa para el Desarrollo Costarricense) CEDECO. With CEDECO’s support, staff and members of COMSA learned new and innovative practices to transform their lands into integrated organic farms – promoting soil and water conservation, and the preservation of local plant and wildlife. Meanwhile, members began to see improvements in coffee yields, better family relationships and rapid growth in membership for COMSA.
With their initial successes, members became more and more open to experimentation with innovative organic practices. Since COMSA’s inception, it has developed its own approach to organic agriculture, adopting the five “M” s of organic agriculture over time: in 2001 – use of organic Matter; 2006 – application of Micro-organisms in compost; 2010 – exploring the use of Minerals; 2012 – production of fermented live Molecules; 2013 – strengthening the grey Matter (brainpower) of their technical team, members and strong educational program with their youth and women’s groups.
COMSA’s work is based on the concept of a Finca Humana, literally translated as a Human Farm. This Finca Humana model focuses on developing, nurturing, and awakening the mind, body and soul to reach a balance between oneself, family, and community. In this model, learning is encouraged through observation, research, analysis, reflection, action and documentation. Unlike most educational models in Latin America, COMSA’s philosophy posits that learning is achieved by a balance of understanding theories, and mostly through experience and practice. The Finca Humana model emphasizes the importance of changes first being made in individuals’ ways of thinking, and then on their physical farms. COMSA has a radically different belief that the most important part of the productive chain are the people involved, and that for there to be true change, people must change their ways of thinking and acting.
COMSA takes a fully holistic approach to organic agriculture, and promotes justice, peace, solidarity and reconciliation of humans with the cosmos, earth, and with oneself. The cooperative is committed to educating and nurturing children to focus on productivity and efficiency, while also encouraging innovation, training, creativity and sustainability. As part of its efforts to encourage this kind of radical growth, COMSA supports several associated projects, including Bancomsa, a community bank offering loans to cooperative members; a Gender Equality Board that promotes and encourages the participation of women and youth in coffee production and at the cooperative leadership level; a bilingual community school offering a hands-on education for the children of coffee farmers; and a technical farm program that encourages leadership from cooperative members.