Taking Independent Coffee House Owners and Baristas on a Seed-to-Cup Journey in Honduras

December 21, 2023 (Published: May 17, 2019)
Barista picking coffee
Crimson Cup takes independent coffee shop owners and baristas on seed to cup journey in Honduras

Crimson Cup recently flew owners and staff from five independently owned coffee houses to the Siguatepeque region of Honduras.

There, they followed coffee’s journey from seed to cup while learning about the roles of the coffee farmers, workers and processors who prepare coffee served in their shops.

“Our goal was to strengthen the relationship between coffee growers, Crimson Cup and our customers,” said Crimson Cup Coffee Buyer Dave Eldridge, who led the trip.

Crimson Cup Roast Master Dave Rochus and Coffee House Manager Jennifer Kerchner joined the group to gain expertise in direct-trade coffee sourcing and to forge relationships with coffee growers.

“Seeing the hard work that goes into growing the coffee you serve is a life-altering experience!” Jennifer said

Participants from Five Independent Coffee Houses Included:

  • Krispin DeCamp, manager of Court Street Coffee House in Athens, Ohio
  • Julie A. Driesbach, owner of Scioto Valley Coffee House in Circleville, Ohio
  • Kat and Pat Bissell, owners of The Coffee Attic & Book Cellar in Iowa Falls, Iowa
  • Lauren McCurdy and Ashley Garrison, baristas at 5 Bean Coffee House in Reynoldsburg, Ohio
  • Jacob Hill, manager of the Crimson Cup Coffee House in Clintonville.

Touring Coffee Farms, Local Schools and Coffee Processing Facilities

The group began their three-day tour by meeting with farmers to discuss their needs and challenges.

“This was a unique and wonderful opportunity for us to learn about coffee production and the people that are most impacted by it,” said Kat Bissell.

The second day started with a visit to a primary school in El Socorro, where the group learned about Crimson Cup’s involvement in providing new computer desks, funding a second teacher for a year, building new bathrooms and other contributions.

Next, they visited coffee processing facilities operated by local farmer David Lopez. They learned about wet milling and coffee drying processes and inspected a raised drying bed supported by Crimson Cup.

The day concluded with a tour of Lopez’s farm, Finca Los Amigos, where they held a coffee picking competition to understand the hard work that goes into harvesting each crop.

 “Connecting with David Lopez and some of the other local farmers opened our eyes to the struggles that they face,” said Pat Bissell.  “It also opened our eyes to some of the opportunities that we have to make a difference.”

Their final day began with a tour of the dry mill at The Cooperativa Cafetalera Siguatepeque Limitada (COHORSIL) followed by a cupping of David Lopez’s coffee.

Giving Back by Building Latrines

To conclude their trip, they visited Aqua Salada, Honduras, where they built two latrines for families in need and visited with a family that has received a water filter bucket through Crimson Cup’s 10 Cents of Change program.

Altered Perceptions

At the end of the trip, participants agreed it had altered the way they see coffee and the people who produce it.

“Most humbling, rewarding experience of my life…can’t wait to go back!” Julie Driesbach said. “Really makes you think about and reevaluate all the things we take for granted.”

Some pledged to incorporate lessons learned on the trip into the way they buy and serve coffee.

“We will definitely think about the coffee that we buy and what difference it is making in a community,” Kat Bissell said.

“Being directly connected with a farmer who has a product on the shelf of our coffee shop is truly special to me. It puts a face and a soul behind the product,” Lauren McCurdy said. “I feel a new responsibility and passion to serve their coffee and share their story with customers in a way that honors the livelihoods represented by each cup.” 

Our Friend2Farmer Program

Crimson Cup has been working with smallholder coffee farmers in the Siguatepeque region since 2011. Through our Friend2Farmer direct trade program, we purchase coffee directly from farmers at an above-market premium, assist with coffee quality improvement and donate to educational and health programs in the community.

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