Tasting Notes: Bittersweet Chocolate, Smooth
Roast level: Medium
From the roaster: We began working with COMSA in 2014, buying their members’ high quality green coffee with the unique regional characteristics of Marcala: medium body and pronounced acidity, bitter chocolate flavours, and nuances of floral, lemongrass, peach and wild berries.
Café Orgánico Marcala (COMSA) was founded in December of 2001 with a vision of creating new and alternative development opportunities for small-scale coffee farmers in the region of Marcala, Honduras. The organization originally brought together 69 small-scale farmers of Lenca origin who were interested in selling their coffee collectively under the umbrella of a rural credit union.
At that time, the predominant production system in the region used conventional (chemical) practices and sold to the local coyotes, often at prices that did not even cover the farmers’ production costs. One of the primary founding objectives of COMSA was to seek out and promote new ways of thinking – both in production, moving from conventional to organic production; and in markets, moving from commercial to specialty buyers.
In the beginning the challenges were enormous, as transitioning from conventional to organic practices can cause dramatic drops in production yields. Many members became discouraged and dropped out of the organization. In response, the COMSA Board of Directors and technical team looked for new methods of intensive organics to support their transition and established a strategic alliance with the Corporación Educativa para el Desarrollo Costarricense – CEDECO. With CEDECO’s support, staff and members of COMSA learned new and innovative practices to transform their lands into integrated organic farms – promoting soil and water conservation, and the preservation of local plant and wildlife. Now growers can see improvements in coffee yields, better family relationships and rapid growth in membership for COMSA.
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