About the coffee
Flavour description: A very sweet and vibrant cup reminding of a funky white wine, notes of papaya with a hint of cacao and a fudgy finish with a note of jasmine.
Colour: Clear pink
Manager: Enrique Morras
Owners: Mierisch Family
Farm: Cerro Azul
Mill: Santa Lucia
Varietal: Java (also known as Longberry)
Location: Rio Bonito community in Siguatepeque in the Comayagua Department
Harvested: December to February 2019
Farm size: 160 manzanas. Producing area about 120 manzanas which is about 75 hectares
Altitude: 1400 - 1650 masl
Roast style: Light to medium to enhance the natural sweetness in the coffee.
Drop Coffee has not had an opportunity to work directly in Honduras before and has therefore not bought any coffee from there, in many years. It is our standard rule to visit all farms before we buy from them to increase our insight on the situations they are working in, build relationships and work more focused on sustainability. We are now starting to visit and are buying directly from Honduras, and we are doing so with the Cup of Excellence 2019 winner, Cerru Azul, produced by the Mierisch family.
Eleane Mieresch is behind Las Delicias, producing the Java that has been so popular and these are the exact same plants, but growing at Cerru Azul, in the next country over.
About Cerru Azul
We are very happy to start buying Honduran coffee. There is a region called Santa Barbara, where the coffee grown there has a specific phosphoric acidity, and this coffee is from the opposite side of the lake, in the Azul Meambar National Park. The farm is producing everything from 80 to 93 point coffee. There are many factors that are at play when we decide where to buy our coffee from. The coffee always needs to cup over 86 points according to us, but also the producers need to actively work with sustainability. This involves environmental, economical and social factors and is different from country to country, culture and farm. The Mierisch Family's mills and farms are a great example: filtering the water, controlling that it goes back to nature without causing any damage, day-care centres and schools for the worker's children, non-discrimination policy and documentation, family planning assistance, free healthcare, hydroelectric system from the surrounding water supplying the farms, free accommodation and three meals per day for all the workers. No workers hired under the age of 16, they are signing a contract with every worker which includes pension as well as insurance. Coffee prices need to be higher to require these standards, sustainability is ongoing work and we are proud to work with these amazing people and their coffee.
When coffee is good in Honduras it is extraordinarily good, with such high and clear acidity.
The Mierisch family is the leading role in speciality coffee in Nicaragua, where they have been in the finals in Cup of Excellence many times and are well established. As they decided to take on a farm in Honduras as well, they took their whole team over to build up good structure and routines in order to be able to ensure they will deliver the same quality. Doing this they are paying double salaries to motivate the workers to go, one salary for the family who is left home and one salary for the worker in Honduras. Just a nine-hour drive (with a smooth border crossing) away the Mierisch team can go between their mills. Eleane and Erwin Jr are investing a lot of time in Honduras. This is, of course, expensive, but as seen before with the Mierisch family, hard work pays off and last year they won Cup of Excellence with Cerru Azul.
Cerro Azul is a big farm with a big variation of varietals and taste profiles. The family is planting a broad portfolio of varieties, they are also extremely talented in their processing.
Besides good management, rich soil also contributes to a good taste profile. It has a lot of clay and is high in nitrogen and minerals. That allows the producers to work with more organic guidelines such as using the nombere cultura, organic fertilizer from worms.
Cerru Azul is not suffering from either Roja or Bora, however, the farm is exposed to strong winds. The wind can give a decrees Poma (from Costa Rica) that makes the leaves fall which means there is a need to build more windbreakers. Due to the climate changing the farm is not as humid as it used to be a few years back. In the temperatures they are reaching now, they are worried about receiving the Oja de Gallo defect.
At the mill, they have a water reservoir and after processing the water is filtered and measured to insure it goes back to nature without causing any harm.
The Mierish family is a great example of how coffee impacts so much more than just coffee. They have hundreds of people employed and have a positive impact on the local societies they are working in.
The working conditions on the farms are good, not hiring anyone under 16, giving them three free meals a day plus accommodation, offering free healthcare and are paying salary above the national guidelines.
The FOB price paid for this coffee is 4,75 USD per pound.