Finca El Puente is a special coffee that is truly close to our hearts. We encountered it on our very first trip to Honduras, fell in love with it then, and have been head over heels ever since. Moisés Herrera and Marysabel Caballero—the couple who run the farm—have become like family, and this year they continued the tradition of refining an already-great coffee. This harvest of Finca El Puente brings plum notes and brown sugar sweetness with toasted nut in the finish.
One time Director of Coffee Peter Giuliano’s story of identifying the “purple princess” on a cupping table in the 2005 Cup of Excellence competition in Honduras is Counter Culture legend, and, beyond that, part of our direct trade relationship canon. We purchased a small amount of the farm’s coffee for the first time in 2006, through a Q Auction, and made our first visit to their farm in March of 2007 with only the most basic of e-mail correspondence preceding our arrival. They welcomed us with immeasurable warmth and good humor, which, combined with the consistently delicious coffee (sometimes purple-flower- and purple-fruit-tinged), makes Finca El Puente a perennial favorite.
Marysabel Caballero’s maternal grandfather, Felipe García, established the family’s coffee farms and passed them down to his daughter, Sandra, who shares ownership with her husband, Fabio, and their children, Marysabel and Fabio Junior. The family has divided their land into a number of parcels, assigning specific areas to individual family members who manage those areas independently. Finca El Puente, for example, is one of Marysabel’s areas, which she owns and manages with her husband, Moisés Herrera, along with land that he brought to the marriage.
Originally from Guatemala, Moisés came to Honduras in the 1980s for work with a Guatemalan coffee company, but he ended up buying some land of his own outside of Marcala and becoming a coffee grower even before he met Marysabel.
Together, they dedicated themselves to producing the highest-quality coffee they could, and, when they heard about the first coffee quality contests in Honduras, they naturally entered the coffee they had grown together. Right away, their coffee started to win prizes in these contests, and coffee from Finca El Puente began a winning streak that is unparalleled in coffee history: this coffee placed at the top of every coffee contest ever entered. In 2005, at the Honduras Cup of Excellence Competition, Finca El Puente’s berry-lavender aroma and silky body famously earned it the nickname “The Purple Princess” when Peter first tasted it on the cupping table. The name, of course, stuck.
El Puente translates to “the bridge” in Spanish and is named so for a section of the farm that is close to a bridge that goes over a natural spring.
Marcala is in the southern Honduran region of La Paz, which is approximately an hour drive from the border with El Salvador. This high-elevation town is dry and dusty, with more pine trees than one might expect in a tropical climate, but the Caballero-Herrera’s farms are blessed with plentiful natural springs, and they have chosen to conserve a good deal of their land in order to protect this resource.
Marysabel Caballero’s maternal grandfather, Felipe García, established the family’s coffee farms and passed them down to his daughter, Sandra, who shares ownership with her husband, Fabio, and their children, Marysabel and Fabio Junior. The family has divided their land into a number of parcels, assigning specific areas to individual family members who manage those areas independently.
Most people meet Marysabel first because she is outgoing, arrestingly lovely, and quick to laugh – she is the embodiment of charm – but the rest of her family are just as warm. Fabio Senior is a witty adventurer who would never turn down a risk-laden trip or endeavor, especially if it holds the promise of good food. Moisés, who usually plays the straight man to Marysabel and Fabio’s energy and hilarity, is one of the savviest coffee producers we have ever met.
Elevation: 1,400 – 1,653 meters
Post-Harvest Process: Washed, fermented for about 14 hours, then dried anywhere from 48 hours to 2 weeks depending on whether the coffee is dried on raised beds, patios, or in mechanical driers.
Harvest Time: December 2013 – March 2014
Certifications: Direct Trade