Abeja Honey, Honduras  

Farrer’s not only have a long coffee heritage, but their small, dedicated team have the drive and vision to bring you the very best ethically and sustainably sourced coffees from around the globe.

Farrer’s is introducing a new and intoxicating coffee from Capucas Cooperative, located in the municipality of San Pedro De Copan, in the Celque National Park, part of the Lempira region of Honduras.

Cooperativa Cafetalera Capucas Limitada (Cocafcal) or Capucas as they are better known, is situated in the Celaque National Park on the slopes of the area’s highest peak Cerro Las Minas, which is also the highest peak in Honduras.

The Park is classified as a cloud forest with an average rainfall of 1600 mm at low altitude and an average of 2400 mm at the summit. Perhaps unsurprisingly Celaque in native Lenca language means ‘box of water,’ and that’s supported by the fact that there are nine good sized rivers and tributaries in The Park, supplying water to around 120 villages, including the district capital of Gracias. Celaque’s rich habitats are home to a diverse range of animal species including jaguars, pumas, ocelots and Bolitoglossa Celaque, an endangered newt found only in the mountains of Celaque.

(Image by @estebanbenites on Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/photos/IbNsWIgGyIY)

The Capucas coffee cooperative was founded in 1999 by Jose Omar Rodriguez, taking its name from a town in the region called Las Capucas. In 2004 Omar became the general manager, a function he still undertakes. Jose oversees the 12 communities that operate in the cooperative, which are located in the municipalities of San Pedro, Copan and Corquin, Copan.

In 1999 there were 55 cooperative members, now there are over 75 members, supporting community projects that benefit around 2,500 people, including paying for a GP to treat workers for free in a health centre they built in conjunction with National University located in the centre of Las Capucas.

Members are dedicated to growing sustainable conventional, organic and Fairtrade coffees. In support of that for over a decade, Capucas has carried out reforestation work locally, planting over a million timber trees in the region, and has also supported local farmers to diversify their activities, including organic fertiliser production, beekeeping, and growing lemongrass.

(Image by @rileyfara on Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/photos/8v058NRG6_U)

Capucas has also established a peer-to-peer learning programme to mitigate climate change by providing information to growers on good agronomical practices, with the aim of reducing soil erosion and water consumption, as well as increasing biodiversity and shade in the farms through the planting of trees.

One such example of increasing encouraging bio-diversity is the Abeja bee keeping project, the brain child of general manager Omar, who first started looking at the possibility of establishing hives on some of the small farms that supply the Capucas coffee cooperative in 2017. After a little experimentation a bee keeping project was finally established in 2021, specifically designed to encourage the introduction of hives to small farms within the cooperative.

The project performs several functions, firstly to increase the numbers of bees, which helps increase pollination of plants and flowers locally and encourages a range of species to thrive. Secondly their introduction also helps the cooperative’s farmers diversify their income, by providing them with an extra product which they can sell for a high price. And finally an added benefit that wasn’t initially apparent is that the introduction of bees has helped show young people that there are other viable opportunities for them to earn a good living without having to rely solely on growing coffee or for that matter having to leave their community altogether to work in a large city. 

(Image by @biancablah on Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/photos/ys-sZZkdT1s)

The word ‘Abeja’ is Spanish for bee, which was as it turned out a highly appropriate name for the project, which is supported by coffee merchants DRWakefield, who pay a 22 cent per pound premium on two specific coffees currently produced by the Capucas cooperative, they are Abeja Honey processed coffee and Armadillo Anaerobic Honey process. Levy funds raised from the sale of these two coffees goes directly towards the Abeja project to promote beekeeping among the cooperative’s members.

Capucas’s aim is to use the funds raised through the project to support 150 new beekeepers, as well as helping to purchase equipment to construct hives and provide training to farmers, so that they can care for the bees in the hives, improve their beekeeping skills and thereby increase yields and the quality of the honey produced and earn more money for themselves in the process. 

Over the years, Honduran coffee has been steadily growing in popularity and has undoubtedly made a name for itself. Honduras is now sixth largest exporter of coffee on the planet.

Honduran coffee is grown at high altitudes, usually between 3,600 and 5,249 feet above sea level. Even more, Honduras boasts six separate regions for growing coffee. While the soil isn’t as fertile compared to the other Central American countries, Honduras boasts high volcanic ash levels.

Spanish colonists first introduced coffee plants to Honduras in the 1700s, a century later Honduran farmers started growing coffee themselves. But things quickly went wrong as banana plantations quickly replaced coffee as the main cash crop. Fast forward another hundred years and by the late 1900s, coffee beans slowly started to make a comeback, sadly there were to be a few more significant bumps in the road as natural disasters including hurricanes and coffee leaf rust destroyed the crop. Happily though, the industry, despite these fairly momentous setbacks, proved to be very resilient and by the beginning of the 21st century, the Honduran specialty coffee industry dramatically increased in size, producing a wide variety of coffees that other Central American producers simply couldn’t grow. Honduras with its fertile soil, favourable attitude, and numerous microclimates meant that it is the perfect location for producing specialty coffees.  

(Image by @herickson7 on Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/photos/2Q9zeNBoxA8)

Abeja Honey is a medium bodied coffee, delivering a fruity adventure in the cup, with a full body and pleasant sweetness, with dark rum and chocolate, with hints of caramel, nuts and subtle stone fruit notes to finish.

Farm: Capucas Cooperative

Country: Honduras  

Region: San Pedro De Copan

Varietal: Catuai, Caturra, Icatu, Pacamara and Pacas

Process: Anaerobic Natural

Profile: Notes of pineapple, rum, dried apricot and papaya

Cup Score: 85