Historically, like many producers in his region, Cecilio dedicated his life to growing and selling vegetables. In 1971, a friend offered to sell Cecilio his land where coffee (Bourbon Variety) already existed, thus kick-starting his new path to becoming a full time coffee producer. Initially, Cecilio lacked the funds to pay his friend, but an arrangement was made to pay off the farm over time. This was seemingly possible due to the rising prices of the coffee market. For a long while, things were good for Cecilio, but eventually the market stopped growing, costs of production were going up but the price remained stagnant. At this point, Cecilio made the decision to switch from growing commercial grade and working solely in Specialty; a move that has kept Cecilio's farm Finca Las Cruces producing really sweet and clean coffees year after year.
On the farm level, Cecicilio and his sons are managing everything from the picking to managing the milling and drying; were it not for his family helping during the harvest, they would not be able to manage to produce much coffee due to the lack of labor and sociopolitical issues facing and affecting the life of everyday Honduran farmers.
About the Coffee:
This is our fourth year purchasing coffee from Cecilio, a Pacas lot from Las Cruces. Cecilio manages 4 hectares of land where 45% of his farm is dedicated to growing bourbon, 45% Pacas and 10% Ihcafe90. The coffee is picked and depulped, all in the same day using a dry fermentation method with the coffee partitioned into piles (no water added) for up to 14 hours. After fermentation, Cecilio washed the coffee 4 times, always using clean water after each wash. Then, the coffee is transferred to raised African-Style beds for 5 hours in the sun, during which time, Cecilio & Co. performs several passes on all the defects and then placed under a solar dryer, where workers rake the coffee by hand every 30 minutes and is removed from the beds after 9 days.
The coffee this year is clean and sweet, with a very pleasant array of citrus expressions. It has a balanced bitterness, coupled with the lemon and orange notes that makes us think of summertime Italian cocktails.