Marysabel Caballero and her husband Moises Herrera are working with over 200 hectares of land, planted with coffee. They are 2nd and 3rd generation coffee farmers and have been rewarded many times for his commitment to developing coffee quality in Honduras. We have known the family since mid 2000, and Nordic started buying coffee from them in 2012.
Marysabel´s father Don Fabio Caballero inherited large areas of land in and around Marcala from his father, who was one of the pioneers of coffee cultivation in Honduras. After many years of poor profits, he decided to hand out land to his children, and especially to his daughter Marysabel and her husband Moises Herrera. Moises brought his own farms in to the family business and together they have almost 200 hectares of coffee separated into 17 different farms.
They have since been extremely successful producing quality coffees and have contributed to the improving reputation of Honduran quality coffees. Everything they do at the farms is documented, and they invest considerable time and resources both in new equipment and planting of new coffee varieties in order to improve the quality of the coffee.
The Caballeros are extremely committed to the environmental sustainability of their farms. A lot of their energy and focus goes towards improving the soil of their farms to ensure a healthy growing environment for their coffee shrubs. Therefore, they produce organic fertilizer made from cow and chicken manure mixed with pulp from coffee cherries and other organic material. This is used in addition to some mineral fertilizer to ensure that the coffee plants get the nutrients they need. Oranges, avocados, flowers, bananas and other fruits are also grown at the farms, but mainly for the pickers to eat and to create biodiversity at the farms that ensures good growing conditions and shade for the coffee trees.
Marysabel and Moises has always focused on quality leading to getting 3rd price at the annual SCAA “Coffee of the year” competition in 2010. They have also done well in the Cup of Excellence for many years, as one of the few producers from their area.
Cultivars: Main cultivar is Catuai. They also have other cultivars like Java and Pacamara as well as Geishas.
Production: Local pickers are hired and trained to only select the ripest cherries. All pickers are equipped with 2 bags while picking: one bag for ripe cherries, and another bag to put the overripe, damaged and under-ripe coffee cherries. Coffee is collected every afternoon and weighed, and all pickers get paid by the weight of the cherries they have picked.
Washed: After de-pulping the mucilage is removed with the use of a penagos aqua pulper. Then the parchment is fermented for 12 hours before it is washed using african washing techniques which helps sorting floaters and undeveloped beans from the denser and more developed coffee. After washing, the beans are soaked for about 12 hours in running clean water.
Naturals: Moises began producing Naturals 3 or so years ago, initially only starting with 30 bags. Drying Natural coffees is very difficult in Marcala because of the humid climate and the rain experienced during the drying period. Moises has worked hard over the years to perfect the process, and in doing so has also showed Fabio, his father-in-law, the same techniques. Where they are processing the coffees as Naturals, they are picking ripe cherry and drying on covered raised beds. Initially the layer of cherry must be thin and as the coffee dries you can increase the thickness of the drying cherry. Cherry can take 20-40 days to dry depending on the temperatures.
Drying: Dried on patio, raised beds in the sun or shade for 11 – 20 days. The coffees are piled up and covered when its hard sun during mid day, when it rains and at night.
Soil: Clay like soil
Notes: Generally wet and windy conditions. Some farms have shade, and some not. It is a mix of flat plateaus and hillsides with moderate to steep incline.
General cupping notes: Rich dark fruit aroma. Warming mature fruit like red berries, black grape and plum flavors. Rich and dense mouthfeel, well-structured and intense. Some red vine notes combined with molasses and prunes. Complex and juicy finish.