It is our fourth year roasting coffee from Marysabel & Moises. We’re excited to be able to continue with the couple and showcase their reliably sweet, clean and chocolatey Catuaí coffee roasted for espresso brewing.
Chinacla is home to a couple as passionate, positive and enthusiastic about coffee as we have met on any of our travels: Marysabel Caballero and Moises Herrera. They have around 200 hectares of farmland, an impeccable wet mill, an organised and technically advanced dry mill and an enormous warehouse to store their product. Several years ago they upgraded from a Honduran-made Aguapulpa, which had a propensity to damage beans, to a Pinhalense Eco- Pulper. Whilst they do some small-scale preparations of rare varieties, the majority of their Catuaí coffee is depulped and dry fermented overnight for 12-14 hours, before being washed, graded in channels and then soaked in clean water for a further 12 hours.
Employing 150-200 pickers during the peak of the harvest, they aim to hire the same people as much as possible each year, however many workers are employed year-round, fulfilling tasks such as pruning, planting, removing old or sick trees and weeding so as not to have to use herbicides. This year-round support creates a stronger social bond between the Caballeros Estate and the community of Chinacla, with Marysabel explaining how being so interwoven with the local community means they don’t require extra security to combat coffee theft, as seen on many other large farms and estates in Central America.
The Caballeros are extremely committed to the environmental sustainability of their farms. A lot of their energy and focus goes towards improving the soil of their farms to ensure a healthy growing environment for their coffee shrubs. Therefore, they produce organic fertilizer made from cow and chicken manure mixed with pulp from coffee cherries and other organic material. This is used in addition to some mineral fertilizer to ensure that the coffee plants get the nutrients they need. Oranges, avocados, flowers, bananas and other fruits are also grown at the farms, but mainly for the pickers to eat and to create biodiversity at the farms that ensures good growing conditions and shade for the coffee trees.
As Marysabel said to us “You can never get bored in coffee as there are always so many exciting projects to pursue and ways to improve”. We have to agree!
The Farm & Washing Station
In 2019 we first visited with Marysabel and Moises, and visited several of the plots across their estate. Our lot for espresso roasting this year comprises coffees from two plots, namely Arcadio and La Tina, collected and processed in February and March, 2022. Their main variety is Catuaí, which this espresso run is solely comprised of, but Moises tends to a variety garden with dozens of other varieties, as well as them having plots of Java and Geisha on their large estate. The plots are marked and protected by Colpachi windbreakers and pine trees. The pine can make the soil slightly acidic and so they apply limestone to act as a neutraliser.
Once the cherries are harvested, they depulp using a Pinhalense Eco-Pulper before the parchment is fermented for 12 hours. It is then washed and at the same time floaters and underdeveloped beans are removed in grading channels. After washing, the beans are soaked for about 12 hours in running clean water. Some lots are spun in a centrifuge to drain off excess moisture before they are initially dried on patio and then in guardiolas, but the two coffees in this year’s espresso selection have been dried on raised beds.
Chinacla, Marcala, La Paz, Honduras
Satisfying & balanced. At its core we’re tasting milk chocolate, almond butter & malted milkshakes, with hints of plum jam & cooked apple adding complexity and freshness.