Cafe Raga in Honduras
Located in the remote, soaring peaks of the Comayagua mountain range are communities of Honduran coffee growers like those in Selguapa, Chaguite & Guaspololo. For years, these producers had no idea what the true value of their coffee was and as such, sold it this way unaware there were other opportunities. The tide shifted with the meeting of Cafe Raga and beginning the transition towards autonomy and away from the exploitative model they've always known.
This community of producers, despite beginning to grow high quality, heirloom varieties in the 1980s, have spent their entire lives selling coffee to local intermediaries for prices that are the definition of unsustainable.
While this system of buying did work well for producers at one time, for the last ten years at least this model has been largely exploitative, never allowing producers an opportunity to earn enough to re-invest in their farms and keeping them at a distance from any meaningful connection with international buyers. This changed when these communities became part of the Cafe Raga network and began the process of training the members on producing micro-lots for sale to the specialty market.
Don Santos Aguirre and around 40 fellow local producers have been making the transition away from selling exclusively in cherry to local intermediaries to processing their coffee in their own farms and selling it in parchment.
Rieniel Ramirez's coffee processing in San Miguel de Selguapa, Comayagua, Honduras.
Cafe Raga began their work of fighting for and educating coffee smallholders in 2018. After years of working with IHCAFE, Rony Gamez saw an opportunity to connect these often-overlooked producers with dedicated buyers, a radical departure from the traditional system of selling cherry to intermediaries or coyotes for bottom barrel prices. Now, the producers P.S. work with benefit from a local support network that offers training in fermentation, drying, and more recently, soil analysis. The group has steadily increased the quality of their coffee every year since then.
Coffee cherries maturing at over 1700masl, roughly 200 metres higher than the average coffee farm in Honduras.
Producers now process their coffee to parchment, allowing them to sell it via a local dry mill. Now, instead of selling to intermediaries for unpredictable prices, their prices are defined in consensus with relational buyers like P.S.