~Whole Bean Coffee~ Tasting Notes: Honey, Citrus, and Silky Grower: María Esperanza Domínguez Variety: Catuai, Pache, Bourbon, and Ihcafe 90 Region: El Cerron, Marcala, and La Paz Process: Pulped Natural (Honey) then Sundried on Patios and Elevated Tables Altitude: 1,650 m Soil: Clay Soil Grower Certifications: Fair Trade and Organic
María Esperanza Domínguez is a founding member of Cooperativa Regional de Agricultores Orgánicos de la Sierra (RAOS), which was established in 1997 as the first cooperative of small and medium organic coffee producers in Honduras. María Esperanza started with less than one acre of land but has expanded her production area to nearly 9 acres at her farm called El Lirio (The Lily). With support from RAOS, María Esperanza has reconfigured her micro-mill to ecologically run with very little water by using a demucilager, which controls the amount of mucilage that remains on the coffee bean after depulping without fermenting or washing the coffee. She has perfected the Yellow Honey process, in which the demucilager mechanically removes most of the mucilage from the bean. The coffee is then placed directly on raised beds to dry with a light layer of mucilage still attached to the bean. This process has enabled María Esperanza to market her coffee as a micro-lot through RAOS. In the last few years, RAOS has invested significantly to improve its dry mill installation. The facility has two electronic eyes running in series to color sort green coffee before export. RAOS also continues to employ women to hand sort micro-lots as the final step in preparing a coffee for export.