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Honduras | Pacayal
Honduras | Pacayal
Honduras Pacayal is a mouthful in more ways than one. The flavor profile is multi-faceted and the coffee delivers regardless of preparation. Pacayal as espresso pairs well with dairy to produce great traditional coffee drinks.
FCC prides itself on being an ethical, social, economic, political, and cultural body serving the organizational, production, and commercialization needs of coffee producers.
Complex is a nice adjective for this coffee. A fun cup of coffee covering a gamut of flavors, but it gets down to business when it's time for espresso.
Tasting notes: milk chocolate covered almonds, summer peach, dash of sea salt
Roast level: Medium
Net Weight: 12 oz (340 g) | 6 oz (170 g)
The Federación Campesina del Cauca (Farmers’ Federation of Cauca, FCC) is a large cooperative representing six smaller coffee farmer organizations located in the rollings hills of Cauca, Colombia. It was founded in 1971 with the mission of serving small producers, giving them access to agronomy training and developing young leaders in the community. In that time the cooperative also worked hard to protect the rights of farmers and keep the ownership of their land—a process that required the effort of many people in the organization.
After four decades of work, FCC applied for fair trade certification and obtained it in 2003. In the process, the cooperative learned how to perform administrative duties and serve its producers, and in the process became one of the strongest social coffee organizations in the Cauca region. It was not an easy process, but it helped FCC become a sustainable partner. With the arrival of Don Herney Chaguendo, the cooperative’s current general manager, as well as the support of the board, FCC established the Specialty Coffee Program with the support of ACDI/VOCA, an NGO that uses USAID funds. This platform helped FCC grow rapidly in the specialty coffee industry.
FCC maintains a membership of approximately 700 small producers, 29% of which are women. FCC is a network of small producers, cooperatively working toward strengthening their community.
All of FCC’s coffee cherries are hand-picked and depulped in machines at members’ farms. 62% of FCC’s members have ecological mills—a two-story structure with a depulping machine, chute, fermentation tanks, and pulp processor. The structures are called ecological mills because they use less water than traditional methods, utilizing gravity for the extra force to depulp cherries.
The mills also utilize the wastewater that is created during the process. Water with highly concentrated pulp honey is used to process the coffee pulp, as the high microbe content speeds up the decomposition and composting processes. The water used for fermentation is drained into a sedimentation tank with gravel, sand, and aquatic plants to filter the water. FCC is gradually implementing the ecological mill structures on the farms of all its members.
After wet milling, the beans are sun-dried by the individual farmers, except for the 1% of members who use machines to dry the beans. 57% of producers have a drying structure with a roof to protect the beans from the frequent harvest season rains. The most commonly used infrastructure is the greenhouse type of parabolic dryer that has more ventilation, expediting the drying process.
The rest of the producers sun dry the coffee in patios. During periods of heavy rain, FCC helps its members finish the drying process by drying some of their coffee parchment in their mechanical drying silo.
In 2014 FCC refurbished the cupping lab, where every delivery undergoes a physical and sensory evaluation. During this stage the cooperative can separate coffees according to production zones and cup profile. The quality control process is supervised by Yimara Martinez, the lead cupper and a certified Q Grader, and Lisbeth Quilindo. The two came aboard as part of an FCC program called Catadores Semilla aimed at providing opportunities to young people—many of them the children of farmers—to find careers as cuppers. The co-op’s cuppers participate in workshops to keep FCC’s coffee quality calibrated with the standards of its buyers.
FCC’s coffee is dry-milled by a partner organization called the Cooperative of Cauca’s Coffee Producers. FCC uses a company called Expocosurca to export its coffee, shipping from the port of Buenaventura.
In 2014 FCC finished implementing its composting plant, Agroempresa FCC, a new division of the cooperative. This compost plant currently produces organic compost and liquid fertilizers that have benefited 318 FCC producer members and 120 individual farmers. With the plant, FCC has the goal to bring 60% of its producers into the organic program by 2020.
The facilities of the compost plant also include a training center and meeting area for FCC farmers. During 2014 the plant has hosted 1,000 farmers, who have received training on organic compost production and organic management to promote ecological production.
Observed results of the compost plant so far have included the appearance of microorganisms and the increase of minerals and organic material in the soil. This is also helping to diminish the use of chemicals on the farms, and the introduction of more shade trees in the field is bringing native birds in the area. Subsequently, FCC’s coffee production has increased 10%.
FCC also has a fund that provides low-interest loans to producers to help them invest in their farms. Producers typically use these loans for renovations, quality improvements, and to purchase new tools.