We were originally introduced to the coffees of Roger Dominguez in our sourcing work for a Honduras-focused version of Elevate in our 2018 menu.
Beyond producing a sweet and crisp espresso, the goal of Elevate is to extend the circumference of our sourcing program -- a way to explore new origins for quality coffee. Coffees like this, La Cueva, represent the ongoing goal of the program: beginning to work with farmers capable of, and committed to, producing delicious coffee and then celebrating the finest of their work on our single-origin menu.
This special single-cultivar selection of catuai comes from Roger Antonio Dominguez Marquez. Finca La Cueva is in the municipality of Marcala in the department of La Paz, the heart of Honduras's Montesillo region. The farm is 6 manzanas (about 4.2 hectares, or 7 NFL fields). He grows coffee throughout, interspersed with many different fruit trees, including oranges, lemons, and mandarins. The farm is named for a cave which exists on the farm, where it is believed that indigenous people once lived during the pre-Columbian period.
At harvest, Roger promptly depulps and sets the coffee to ferment in-water for 18 hours. It then undergoes multiple washes with fresh water to ensure a thorough removal of the mucilage. Drying is controlled and lasts for an average period of 15 days. In addition to coffee from his own farms, Roger also processes, dries, and allows market accessibility for neighboring producers. Roger has enjoyed some successes in producing specialty coffee and is excited to continue to innovate on his farm, including the introduction of new cultivars and experimentations in processing.
2021 will mark our fourth year buying these beautiful Marcalan coffees from Roger, with samples approved and new, fresh lots already getting on the water. With two beloved perennial single origin offerings (La Cueva and San Francisco) and core presence in two mainstay blends (Brooklyn and Elevate), this year's purchases mark a 1,100% increase in volume over those from 2018.
La Cueva is a lovely example of the quality possible in Honduras. A departure from the flavors typically associated with the profile of the country, this coffee is bright and round with pronounced citric and malic acidities, light caramel sweetness, and a nice assortment of pleasant spiced fruit and milk chocolate flavors.