This is a washed SHG grade microlot from producer Ronnie Gabrie's farm Finca Los Colibrí in the Montecillos region of south-west Honduras. This lot was produced as part of a collaborative project with Beneficio San Vincente. Read more about this project in our blog post, “New, Different, Exciting: Microlot Separation and Prep in Honduras.”
Ronnie Alfredo Gabrie Salles is a small farmer from the community of San Luis Planes, Santa Barbara department. Ronnie's father had a small coffee farm when he was younger but all he did was harvest cherries and sell them onto intermediaries. When he was 15, Ronnie started buying and reselling coffee on his school vacations and in 1983, was subsequently hired by the coffee trading company for whom he still works - starting out as an intern and now working as the marketing manager. Between 1998 and 2006 Ronnie had a coffee farm in Santa Cruz de Yojoa but it didn't go too well, partly due to the low altitude of just 600masl. But in 2014 Ronnie purchased new land and began Finca Los Colibrí after hearing about the growing potential of specialty coffee in his region. He
Finca Los Colibrí is a 5.25ha farm situated at 1,450masl and includes the varieties of Parainema(40%), Catuai Rojo (20%) Catuai Amarillo (15%), Java (5%) and Bourbon (5%).
Ripe coffee cherries are pulped then dry fermented for 24-30 hours depending on climatic conditions. It is then washed 4 times to remove any remaining mucilage. After washing the coffee is dried in a sheltered solar dryer/greenhouse where it dries slowly for 24 - 35 days. The parchment coffee is turned every half hour to ensure consistent drying and prevent over-fermentation or mold formation and air extractors are used to circulate air and maintain a cool environment.
This coffee comes from the village of San Luis Planes on Santa Barbara Mountain, a mountainous massif with an area of 121.3 km2 and a maximum height of 2750 meters above sea level, which is mostly a virgin forest reserve declared as a national park since 1987.
Most of the native people of the area began to grow coffee since the 1940s, mainly in the lower areas, although it was always a secondary crop. From the 1970s, coffee became the main crop in the area, promoted by the rise in prices at that time, with Bourbon being the most widespread varieties. Since then coffee has become the basis of the local economy for these communities, as well as an important cultural element.
The Montecillos region is notable for its high altitude and subsequently cool temperatures, which allow coffee cherries to mature slowly and develop increased complexity in the cup.