Ernesto Vásquez has a 3.5-acre farm called El Durazno in the community of Aguanqueterique. In prior years, Ernesto has sold his coffee in cherry to the local middleman. For the last several years he has been working with Catracha Coffee. During this time, he has improved his farm management practices using lime to control the pH of his soil, fertilizing with organic compost, and spraying organic fungicides to control levels of leaf rust. These actions have improved the health of his farm and the quality of his coffee production. Ernesto has learned to process coffee using his own micro-mill so that he can depulp, ferment and dry his coffee before delivering it to Catracha Coffee. With profits from the sale of his micro-lots the past few years, he was able to add raised drying beds at the farm and build a house for his oldest daughter
Mayra Orellana-Powell founded Catracha Coffee Company to connect her coffee growing community with roasters. Nearly ten years later, Catracha Coffee has gained momentum with more than 80 producers and 20 roasters working together on sustainable relationships and a profit-sharing model, which has consistently paid at least $2.00 per pound directly to producers. This extra income helps increase each producer’s capacity to reinvest in their farm, and overtime, increase their standard of living.
The sale of Catracha Coffee also creates income for a non-profit called Catracha Community (a 501(1)(c)(3) nonprofit), which invests in income diversification opportunities without taking resources from a farmer’s bottom line.
Catracha Community host weekly workshops for women and youth to learn craft making skills. Like the coffee, the focus is on quality. With the help of talented volunteers, the group has been able to make many beautiful things and sell them through our network of coffee friends. We even have a name for the group, Catracha Colectivo.
Catracha Community has also established an art residence and studio in Santa Elena to host artists from Honduras and around the world. These artists have been running art classes two days a week for over a year. Every week more than 30 children come and learn art. Art is starting to pop up everywhere around Santa Elena. There are more than 30 murals along the streets of Santa Elena, in people’s homes, and at many schools.