This fully washed coffee is more subtle than the naturals Roger produces at San Francisco, but easily as delicious. A lovely segue into autumn, we taste plump concord grapes, cinnamon-spiced apple, milk chocolate, orange zest, and gingerbread.
We were introduced to Roger's coffees in 2019 by our friends at Cafe Imports. Since then we've partnered with him for single-varietal microlots and staple components of Elevate.
Las Flores is one of three farms Roger inherited from his father, 3.5 manzanas (about 6 acres) ideally located at 1,500 meters of elevation in the renowned coffee growing community of Marcala. Roger employs two full time staff and just ten seasonal pickers on the farm, producing about 150 bags of coffee annually. Las Flores is primarily planted with catuaí, and the coffee plants benefit from shade provided by guachipilín, pepeto, banana, and orange trees.
Catuaí is a compact coffee cultivar developed in Brazil in the mid-2oth century by crossing yellow caturra with mundo novo. Its quality potential in Honduras is excellent, and in 2019 Roger's catuaí produced at Las Flores was awarded an astonishing 92-point score in the Honduras Cup of Excellence.
Roger follows strict standards of picking and processing, starting with the careful selection of ripe fruits and ending with sun-drying the coffee on raised mesh platforms. He takes an additional step of sending samples to be analyzed for quality by IHCAFE, Honduras's national coffee growers' federation.
In addition to his own production, Roger has leveraged his success to help his family, friends, and neighbors access better markets for their coffee. We've leaned into these coffees in our sourcing work for Elevate, which is designed to help us grow and diversify our purchasing in Latin America.
Historically Honduras was not a major coffee producer like neighboring Guatemala and El Salvador. Climate issues and a lack of coffee processing infrastructure made it difficult to consistently produce high quality coffee. But in 2001 Honduras began to focus on increasing the quality and scale of its coffee production, and today it is the largest producer of coffee in Central America. Weather remains a major concern, and the significant rainfall that Honduras receives makes it difficult to grow and dry coffee effectively.
Roger's coffee is proof of the stellar quality that is now possible in Honduras. We were delighted to host him at our Brooklyn HQ in April to share coffee and to talk about varieties, processing methods, and strategies for roasting and marketing coffees like his.