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Behind the beans: Finca Tepanguare from Honduras

Located in La Paz Municipality in the heart of Honduras, Finca Tepanguare is situated in the town of Pacheco, Tepanguare, from which the farm takes its name. A passionate producer, Abel, with the help of his family, has worked hard to maintain and grow his farm, sighting the importance of quality coffee in improving the lives of his family.
Coffee is an important commodity in Honduras and for many, helped prevent bankruptcy during the financial crisis in 2009. In 1970, the country created the Instituto Hondureño del Cafe (IHCAFE), to help improve and maintain the infrastructure behind coffee production and exportation. This included the
initiation of research centres to discover more resistant varieties and develop hybrids whilst testing new agricultural technologies. IHCAFE also provided support for producers to gain access to more premium markets by improving quality and yields.
A significant portion (70%) of producers in Honduras are smallholders, growing coffee on land less than 2 hectares. The past few decades have seen increased support towards these smallholders, with resources provided by IHCAFE to improve agricultural methods and connect producers with international markets.

Finca Tepanguare is truly a family affair. After deciding to take on the Mejia family tradition, Abel relies on coffee wholeheartedly as his only means of income. To help manage the farm, Abel enlists the help of his family, who work together to cultivate, harvest and process the coffee grown amongst the trees. Thanks to their hard work, Abel is able to produce some fantastic coffees, meaning he receives a premium price for his crop. This has allowed Abel to reinvest in his farm, building a solar dryer to help manage processing. With the added drying space, Abel has been able to increase the quality of coffee he can produce, in turn, improving the quality of life for his family.

For processing at Tepanguare, as soon as the coffee is harvested, it is sorted, with the best cherries floated to remove any underdeveloped beans. Once complete, the cherry is transported to the washing station to be pulped the same day as it was picked. Once the external pulp is removed from the coffee, the mucilage covered beans are submerged in cool clean water to initiate the fermentation process. This allows the remaining mucilage sugars to break down over the following 48 hours. Once the initial fermentation is
complete, Abel places the coffee into airtight barrels for a second fermentation. Here, the coffee remains for another 48 hours, helping create the lot’s unique flavour profile. Once fermentation is complete, the coffee is delivered to dry on raised beds for 35 days. Here, the coffee is continuously every 30mins to obtain an even dry. Upon attaining the ideal moisture content, the coffee is sent to the mill to be hulled and rested before export.

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