In addition to the global struggles that have come with COVID-19, Honduran coffee producers face annual challenges of production yields, crop diversification and accommodating visitors.
We spoke to the team from Finca Santa Elena about how they meet these challenges, and what they’re doing in 2021 and onwards to create a better future for Honduran coffee.
WHAT ARE FINCA SANTA ELENA’S MAIN OBJECTIVES FOR 2021?
At Finca Santa Elena we want to ensure the well-being of its owners, their families, collaborators and customers. To do this, we encourage long-term relationships through quality controls, traceability and transparency.
We also offer unique products that are environmentally friendly, favorable to health and with excellent flavor profiles. In 2021, our efforts towards ensuring biosafety, traceability and harmony with the climate will make Finca Santa Elena an ideal option for any of our consumer friends. Hand in hand with cutting-edge certifications, we expect to compete in the most demanding markets.
WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM THE 2021 HARVEST IN HONDURAS?
As it is with each year, this harvest will have its challenges; climatic phenomena did not work in favor of perennial crops, and both excess humidity and low temperatures caused effects that will test the experience and knowledge of the producer.
However, this is where our experience and position as leaders in coffee production aids us. Marketing has taken a more digital turn and this will be the strategy we use to showcase our product, which has earned its reputation for high quality. In general, Honduran coffee will have to continue to build customer loyalty and to offer quality and consistency
HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED A CHANGE IN BUYER DEMANDS IN RECENT YEARS?
In recent years, buyers have begun to ask for our coffee to have extensive traceability during and in the pre and post and harvest periods. We’ve also noticed that certifications have established their relevance for the buyer and the consumer. In the future, it will be important to be able to offer the experience of the farm in a virtual manner, particularly when it is difficult to visit in person.
HOW HAS FINCA SANTA ELENA ADAPTED TO MEET THESE DEMANDS?
Finca Santa Elena has professional quality control facilities, efficiently managed farms with productivity goals, socially and environmentally friendly processes, by-product management, and a permanent commitment to innovation.
Our coffee tour now offers a virtual visit to the farm, where our guests will be able to observe our varietal garden, drip irrigated farms, and processes of wet and dry processing, storage, cupping and roasting. Of course, the mountain hotel that houses the farm will also be available under strict biosecurity measures, for when we can reintroduce face-to-face visits.
We also offer lectures, discussions, and online training for a range of topics, including agricultural production, processing and drying, cupping, roasting and barista skills. We are currently strategic partners of prestigious national universities, in order to share knowledge and experiences in the coffee sector.
WHY IS DIVERSIFICATION IMPORTANT?
Diversification in production is also part of a strategy that began long before the global problems of pandemics and climate worsening. Finca Santa Elena currently has vegetable, basic grains and fruit production programs, as well as poultry and egg production, milk and meat (cattle and sheep), and an important beekeeping project.
Our goal is to diversify production not only for the sustainability of the farm, but also for local and national commercialization. We’ve also diversified our roasted and ground coffee operation to popular and gourmet markets, both nationally and internationally. We’ve been able to achieve this by automating packaging systems and offering versatile products to consumers with varied tastes.
Credits: Finca Santa Elena