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Farm and Production Data

Farm name: El Filo
Closest town: El Cedral
Region: Santa Brabara
Altitude (masl): 1550
Farm size (HA): 0.7
Soil type: Loamy, black and deep
Harvest season: January to May
Harvest peak: March
Average annual production: 11 quintales (498 kg)
Varieties: Pacas 100%
Process: Washed
Fermentation: Dry fermentation 24 hours, Coffee is then washed 4 times to remove all mucilage.
Drying: 1 day on raised beds, then moved to a solar dryer under shade for 10 – 15 days, moved every half hour to ensure even drying, and hand picked to remove defects.
Degree of slope and sun exposure: 5 – 10 degree slope with full sun all day.

Family Details

Farmer’s & spouse’s names: Gerardo Alfredo Moreno Leiva & Mirna Leticia Castellanos Ramirez
Farmer’s year of birth 1975
Children’s names: Jenny Lizeth Moreno Castellanos, 1993
Lilian Marieli Moreno Castellanos, 1987
Grizma Edu Moreno Leiva (Grandson), 2017

Cup Profile

Nectarine | Dried apricot | Juicy | Medium acidity | Sparkling finish 86.5 points

Other Data

Other crops grown: Avocado
Number of people employed at farm 2 permanent staff, 6 pickers during harvest
Pickers’ wage: 45 lempiras per 25lb of coffeee

About the farmer & his family

Gerardo Moreno is a third generation coffee producer, and son of coffee patriarch Daniel Moreno. Daniel Moreno started coffee farming in 1963 with the purchase of La Sierra. Don Daniel passed away in April, 2018, and his legacy is a coffee farming dynasty in Santa Barbara. His sons and their children consistently produce complex and unique coffees which we have been buying since the relationship with the Morenos first began back in 2005, when founder Robert Thoresen began buying for our sister roastery, Kaffa Oslo. Together, three generations of Morenos have inspired many of their neighbors and beyond to produce specialty coffee.

It takes a unique kind of person to come from a humble background — as the Morenos have — and make coffee cultivation a sustainable business for your family. It is not typically smallholder producers with family histories of small-scale agriculture that are the most successful coffee farmers and this is because it is incredibly challenging to first, consistently cultivate and produce the highest quality coffee and have access to a loyal customer base, and then on top of this, have the education and knowledge to speak quality at the same level as the buyer. The Morenos are in this special category of coffee producer and as with any other success story, their sustained top position requires a mixture of ambition, long-term planning, understanding what their market is looking for, and constant reevaluation and tweaking of agronomic, harvesting and processing techniques.

As the family itself continues to evolve, with the younger generation taking on more responsibility, the Moreno family’s commitment to their buyers remains steadfastly loyal and forward-looking.

Gerardo’s first separate production took place during the 2013 harvest and during this first season, Kaffa Oslo was the buyer, in large part due to the long-time support this roastery has given to the Moreno family since Robert and Bjørnar (CCS founders and co-owners of Kaffa) first started working with Santa Barbara producers on behalf of Kaffa in 2008.

For the 2014 harvest, Gerardo’s coffee found a new home at Slöinge Kafferosteri in Sweden, where it has become a permanent fixture on Slöinge’s menu. We are both thrilled and honored that Slöinge’s founder, Daniel Eråker, has become such a committed partner to Gerardo.

Biggest challenges:

  • Increasing severity of pests and diseases
  • Problems finding labor, especially during harvest
  • Difficulties drying the coffee with increasing production and decreasing temperatures.
  • Lack of available resources, cost of financing, and that payment for coffee comes well after costs of cultivation and processing have to be paid.

Future plans:

  • Buy another lot of land to grow both coffee and avocados.

What would you like roasters to know about you and your coffee?

“I am grateful that you buy my coffee.”

The Relationship
We were introduced to the Morenos by our good friends and exporters, San Vicente, based in Peña Blanca, the closest city to almost all the farmers we work with in Honduras. San Vicente has been an invaluable partner to us, helping the development process of our relationships with the farmers with whom we work, introducing us to new potential partners, providing milling & logistic services, and actively working together with farmers on new strategies to improve farmlevel practices to improve cup quality each year.

Background to Santa Barbara

The villages Cielito, Cedral and Las Flores follow one after another along the mountain range in Santa Barbara. Grown on this hillside is mostly Pacas, a coffee species akin to Bourbon, as well as Yellow Catuaí and Pacamara. It is challenging to process coffee cherries in areas like these, which are close to the jungle and thus, to rain. The drying process, in particular, is especially demanding. But when these processes are precisely controlled, seemingly problematic factors (like drying under challenging conditions) are what make coffee from this area particularly interesting. The coffee produced here cups with flavour attributes not found anywhere else in Central America.

Since 2005, the region, Santa Barbara, and the small producers living and working there, have shared the distinction as the place and the people producing exceptional coffee within Honduras. Our work and the
beginning of the on-going relationships we’ve since established here began during the 2005 Cup of Excellence. We came to realize that there are exceptional producers from this small area. And since that inaugural year, we have purchased from over twenty different Santa Barbara producers. Located in the village of Pena Blanca is coffee exporter San Vicente – the company that coordinates the coffee we buy from Santa Barbara. Over the past several years, one particular hillside has become the largest supplier of CoE winners in Honduras. The most successful farms with the smartest and most innovative farmers are neighbours on this hillside and they help each other to refine the best of their lots.

There exists an eagerness here; a willingness, motivation and ambition to produce the best coffee in the country. But there are also large differences amongst the farmers and our purpose is to be close to this special coffee community and get to know the most ambitious of the farmers here; the ones we can develop something with. In order to build relationships – that allow both parties to have a common understanding of quality coffee – there must be frequent and long-term presence.

To produce coffee that tastes fruity is not very complicated. But to produce coffee that is clean, clear, fresh and fruity – that’s an art. One of the biggest assumptions within specialty coffee is that
coffee from high- altitude areas naturally exhibits these characteristics. But high elevation can lead to potential problems, even in tropical climates.

In the highest areas of Santa Barbara, up to and over 1800 meters, producers can experience “freezing”: the combination of temperatures between 4-5C and rainfall that combine to cause cherries to not ripen and leaves to die on the bush. These conditions create a cold and humid climate, which is hazardous for processing and requires steady and reliable drying conditions for coffee so quality will not deteriorate. These natural conditions, of course, cannot be evaded. But clever and prescient coffee farmers, like the ones we collaborate with, invest in drying systems that minimize the risks associated with weather.