The History Of San Jose Coffee Farm
In 1882, my great-grandfather Don Pablo Paz was working as a postman in San Jose de Colinas, which is a town in Santa Barbara, Honduras. He delivered letters barefoot and told Don Diego, his father, “my dream is to plant coffee.”
My great-great-grandfather Don Diego told him, “I have some unoccupied lands near the Volcano, which is eight hours away from our People. If you work the land it is yours.” Therefore, for four years, Salome, my great-grandmother, prepared four days worth of food for Don Pablo. He would work as a postman through Thursday, and then on Friday would walk out to where the farm operates and worked there on Saturday and Sunday. Then he would return to the village again. That is how what has been known until now as Finca San Jose came to be built.
My grandfather and the oldest son of Don Pablo, Don Jose Maximiliano Paz, continued the coffee tradition of the family. At the end of every harvest, he would walk into the Trinidad community to receive more money for the dry coffee he was selling. It took three days through the mountains from his farm, with 20 mules loaded up with coffee to deliver his coffee. They paid for the coffee in silver coins, which are called sneakers here, and then he would return home with his mules loaded up with coins and provisions.
Don Maximiliano would take Jose Arnold – my father and his firstborn son – each morning to supervise and see the milking. To get there, they would need to pass by a very beautiful coffee plantation, which was flat land planted with orange trees. This lot is referred to as Orange Grove now.
At the time my father was six years old, and said, “Papa, I would like to plant coffee,” so my grandfather told him, “El Naranjal is all yours if you want to plant coffee,” so, therefore, it continued the tradition in the family.
Today, three generations and 136 years later, three brothers are now in charge, and still are supervised by my father, who is celebrating his 80th birthday this year.
The production and destinations of San Jose Farm.
This farm is comprised of 200 manzanas of land. Trees make up one hundred manzanas, and nineteen manzanas are cultivated coffee with the rest being livestock and six births of water that covers most of the whole property.
This farm is divided up into twelve lots, based on the height, variety and coffee cup profile. Around 15 cutters collect the coffee, several of them have been helping the farm for the last 25 years.
Our sorters use table that has 50 holes to manually inspect the quality of each coffee bean. Each hole on the table allows enough space for 2 green coffee beans, fitting 100 cherries per board. This method of sorting coffee ensures that the harvest is a minimum of 85% of mature beans per mass of coffee.
From 1 to 50 bags of coffee are produced by our micro lots. There is 69 kilos of coffee contained in each bag.
After the coffee is inside of the receiving tank, it is transported by a hydraulic system into a siphon where dry grains, green grains, and wastes are separated. The coffee is then pulped into a four-jet Jota Gallo Columbian pulper. This specific pulper enables different speeds to be set for an electric motor that uses 35-40 rpm for small and regular sizes, like Typicas, Caturras, and Catuai, and 45 rpm for Bourbons and Maragogypes.
After the coffee has been pulped, it then ferments for a maximum of 28 hours, which depends on the air and water temperature and then is washed and the mucilage is taken out. Then it goes into a classifying channel or runner channel, where a water stream drag grains that weighs less and then the heavy grains stay on the bottom, which guarantees coffee is uniform in weight and size, which guarantees a minimum amount of damage grains within the mass of coffee.
The initial qualities get separated for specialty coffee and then go into plastic tanks and rest in clean water for 24 hours, that uses an ancient technique called Soaking Water that was developed in Kenya that prevents fungi from being developed on the surface of the grains and totally eliminated any traces of mucilage in the grains middle or opening line.
After the 24 hours have passed, the first coffee quality goes into cement patios and the surface water gets vaporized and the humidity goes from 50% to 45%. After the coffee has evaporated for 8 hours it is then entered into well-ventilated dryers, or on African beds that use a foil tarp that protects it from UV rays, and it then it dries to reach 12% humidity. The slow drying process takes 12-18 days to complete and during this time the walls of the beans suffer from fracturing while the water is evaporating without the coffee bean’s structure being damaged.
After the grains have dried, they are moved to white oak drawers to rest. The 12% grain moisture, 65% environmental humidity, and 22 degrees C of ambient temperature, are the ideal conditions for stabilizes oils inside of the beans. The process is conducted for 45 days at least and 90 days maximum while the coffee is being tasted every week.
After the cup profiles are developed, then the coffee passed into polypropylene bags and waits for it to be transferred over to the exporter to be prepared and shipped to markets in Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Ukraine, Italy, US, Spain, Chile among others.