Honduras David Matamoros - Finca El Eden
Aroma: Brown cane sugar, dried fruits, milk chocolate, slightly woody
Flavor: Caramel, coco, dried fruits, herbal notes, dry grass, woody
HISTORY OF THE FARM
The farm is one of the oldest in Honduras as it exists since the 1800s. The property belonged to Don Abelardo Zelaya and was passed down from generation to generation. The current owner is the great-granddaughter of Don Abelardo, named Pamela Callejas. The farm is managed jointly by Pamela Callejas and her husband David Matamoros.
Is coffee the only source of incomes for the family?
No, they both have other jobs in the city. Pamela is an art teacher and David works at a burned-out foundation. However, the farm represents the family's largest source of income.
What is a family business day like? Does the whole family get involved in coffee production?
During the week we work on other jobs and responsibilities in the city, going to the farm on weekends to review the necessary work, make payments to the staff, schedule the work and generally review all aspects of the farm.
How many people work on the farm? What is the average that is paid even a worker? How does the staff work in season?
The farm has a permanent staff of 7 people, who are in charge of carrying out all the pertinent tasks to the coffee farm (fertilizations, pruning, etc ...) and they work from Monday to Saturday. These people are paid on a day-to-day basis. In some cases, specific workers are hired and paid according to the results. The workers are paid approximately $ 6.50 per day (150 lempiras). This staff is made up of a manager (foreman) of the estate, who is paid a monthly salary of 5,500 lempiras = $ 240.00 and 6 workers.
During the crop season, the families and people of the area arrive to carry out the works of harvesting coffee beans. These people are paid dauly according to the weight of the coffee harvested on the basis of the pounds cut. 1 pound cut = 1 lempira ($ 0.05). The average collect is 200 pounds a day, so the payment is about $ 10.00 a day. The total number of people is between 60 and 100 people external to the permanent staff during the harvest. All these works, as well as the payments for them, are coordinated by David Matamoros.
What is the personal and family objective of the farm?
The main objective is to continue with the management of the farm and improve to provide a sustainable environment for the communities and their children, offering them more options for them in terms of education and well-being.
How do you see the farm in 5 years? What do you want to achieve until then?
Our objective within 5 years is to be able to export our coffee. We have managed to normalize production and maintain a quality standard in our process. The step forward is now to be able to have the security in terms of sale and purchase and to ensure that a fair price will be paid to cover the investments and efforts made.
What is at stake for the coffee business in Honduras?
One of the most important issues is to reach a good price for the coffee. Unfortunately, under the current business model in Honduras, the producer is the last to receive money, with a final amount depending on exporters and intermediaries.
Being able to sell directly to importers such as Mare Terra opens the door to new markets and allows a better control of prices. We wish to build long-term business relationship and to be able to offer each year an excellent coffee to our buyer.
How is the money cycle in the business? When do you invest and when do you charge?
We sell the coffee harvest between May and June of each year. A large part of this money is used to pay the current obligations. The remaining part is left in an account to cover the costs of the following year. This money is handled carefully since there are no new incomes during the year, so this money must cover all expenses until the new harvest.
What would you like to change in the business plan?
We would like to secure a final buyer with a minimum price, a secured delivery time and payment term. This would allow to make new investments in the farm either in equipment or new lots.
How big is the farm?
The total area of the property is 25 ha, of which 20 are planted with coffee.
17 ha are producing coffee plants and 5 ha are still under incubation.
What has been the volumen of production over the past 3 years?
2015: 260 quintals in parchment
2016: 630 quintals in parchment
2017: 530 quintals in parchment
In the years 2012-2014 the volume of production was around 350-400 quintals (parchment. In 2014 has been carrying out a strong pruning to regenerate the plantations, the volume of production was highly reduced in 2015. In 2016, the production came back to better rates.
When we talk about quintales we speak of 100lbs.
We carry a strict daily control, planning all the activities carried out on the farm. Here, part of the activities are recorded, all the material used, income and everything pertinent. At the time of harvest control of daily pounds, yard pounds and dry pounds in sacks is taken.
How do you check the quality?
Due to the characteristics of the farm, such as the height, the microclimate, etc… we can get an excellent quality of coffee.. From the varieties that are sown, the management that is given, everything is focused on trying to achieve the best possible quality.
During the year, a calendar of specific activities is followed, as well as a guide for the adequate management of the farm in order to apply the necessary fertilizers and nutrients at the adequate moment. This guarantees a high production but at the same time a high quality.
At the time of harvesting, a control of the whole process is carried out from the cut until the moment of putting the coffee into sacks. That kind of control allows to know exactly the day the coffee was cut, the lot from which it came, the pounds per lot, the days in the yard, and finally the pounds in the sack. From the moment the coffee is cut is constantly being checked and selected to ensure that it goes with as few defects as possible.
Could you describe the coffee process?
We use a conventional horizontal pulping machine to pulp the coffee. The beans are then stocked in cement bulks for the fermentation. The coffee is then washed with 4 different waters in the same tanks and then transferred to patios where the drying process will start.
At every step of the process, the coffee is checked and we take out any floater, unripe bean or any other visible defects.
Could you describe the drying process?
The coffee is dried in patios and solar dryers with a clear indication of the lot origin and reference for each coffee and the volume of production.