Farmer Profile: Cresencio Izaguirre

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Family Details 

Farmer’s & Spouse’s names: Cresencio Izaguirre & Maria de Los Angeles Martinez
Farmer’s Date of Birth: 10 June 1972
Children’s names & years of birth: Ruber Joel (1999); Ingrid Jackeline (2000); Jairo Nahun (2002); Lusby Roxeni (2005); Yeldy Maritza (2008); Seiri (2010)
Year farmer received/purchased first coffee farm: 1989

About Cresencio & his family

Cresencio comes from a coffee growing family; he is a second-generation farmer. His brothers (Bernardo, Glenis & Juan Angel) and mother (Maria Adilia) own their own coffee plantations, which neighbour Cresencio’s plantations. Together, the family share drying facilities and are currently constructing a beneficio/wet mill.  His current focus now that he has purchased more land, is to build a new house for his family.

When asked why he chose coffee farming, Cresencio responded that coffee provides a stable income. He also wanted to continue the coffee farming legacy of his parents. When asked what his biggest accomplishment has been to date, Cresencio responded that he is most proud of the fact that he is a coffee producer. According to Cresencio, the biggest challenge he faces in relation to coffee production is disease, like “roya”, along with not having enough resources to fight them.

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Farm & Production Data

Farm Name: N/A
Closest town: El Cedral
Region: Santa Barbara
Altitude: Three plantations: 1. 1600 masl; 2. 1580 masl; 3. 1580 masl
Farm Size: 3.8 ha
Approximate number of trees planted per hectare: 2450
Soil composition: Volcanic
Harvest season: January to June
Harvest peak: March
Approx. annual production: 15 bags (per 69kg)
Variety: almost 100% pacas with a few bourbon plants
Process: dry fermentation for 24 hours, then washed 3-4 times with agitation

Other Data

Other crops grown: corn & beans for family’s own consumption
Percentage of income coming from coffee production: 100%
Number of people employed at farm: 5 pickers/seasonal workers + family
Pickers’ wage: 50 HNL/5-gallon bucket

About the Farm & Coffee

Cresencio’s coffee production comes from three separate plantations (as noted above) and in 2015, Cresencio purchased more land at a lower elevation. This plot was already planted with coffee (of the bourbon variety), which Cresencio stumped, meaning the re-growth will begin producing in 2018. Most Cresencio’s production is from the pacas variety, with maybe one bag of bourbon. We’ll see the bourbon production increase once the newly purchased and stumped plantation is producing again. For the first time (2017), Cresencio has agreed to separate out his bourbon production, even though this will only produce about a bag. Both he and we are curious about what the cup profile will be.

Cup profile: Guava, nectarine, hints of pine in the aroma. Starfruit, dried nectarine, some citrus peel, pear-like in the cup.

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The Relationships

Cresencio’s production has fortunately had the consistent support of one roaster: Per Nordby in Sweden, who has purchased his whole production since CCS started working with Cresencio in 2013. This case best exemplifies how we work and want to work: by way of long-term commitment from both ends of the production cycle.

We were introduced to Cresencio by our good friends and exporters, San Vicente, based in Peña Blanca, the closest city to almost all the farmers we work with in Honduras. San Vicente has been an invaluable partner to us, helping the development process of our relationships with the farmers with whom we work, introducing us to new potential partners, providing milling & logistic services, and actively working together with farmers on new strategies to improve farm-level practices to improve cup quality each year.

Background to Santa Barbara

The villages Cielito, Cedral and Las Flores follow one after another along the mountain range in Santa Barbara. Grown on this hillside is mostly Pacas, a coffee species akin to Bourbon, as well as Yellow Catuaí and Pacamara. It is challenging to process coffee cherries in areas like these, which are close to the jungle and thus, to rain. The drying process is especially demanding. But when these processes are precisely controlled, seemingly problematic factors (like drying under challenging conditions) are what make coffee from this area particularly interesting. The coffee produced here cups with flavour attributes not found anywhere else in Central America.

Since 2005, the region, Santa Barbara, and the small producers living and working there, have shared the distinction as the place and the people producing exceptional coffee within Honduras. Our work and the

beginning of the on-going relationships we’ve since established here began during the 2005 Cup of Excellence. We came to realize that there are exceptional producers from this small area. And since that inaugural year, we have purchased from over twenty different Santa Barbara producers.
Located in the village of Pena Blanca is coffee exporter San Vicente – the company that coordinates the coffee we buy from Santa Barbara. Over the past several years, one particular hillside has become the largest supplier of CoE winners in Honduras. The most successful farms with the smartest and most innovative farmers are neighbours on this hillside and they help each other to refine the best of their lots.

There exists an eagerness here; a willingness, motivation and ambition to produce the best coffee in the country. But there are also large differences amongst the farmers and our purpose is to be close to this special coffee community and get to know the most ambitious of the farmers here; the ones we can develop something with. In order to build relationships – that allow both parties to have a common understanding of quality coffee – there must be frequent and long-term presence.

To produce coffee that tastes fruity is not very complicated. But to produce coffee that is clean, clear, fresh and fruity – that’s an art. One of the biggest assumptions within specialty coffee is that coffee from high- altitude areas naturally exhibits these characteristics. But high elevation can lead to potential problems, even in tropical climates.

In the highest areas of Santa Barbara, up to and over 1800 meters, producers can experience “freezing”: the combination of temperatures between 4-5C and rainfall that combine to cause cherries to not ripen and leaves to die on the bush. These conditions create a cold and humid climate, which is hazardous for processing and requires steady and reliable drying conditions for coffee so quality will not deteriorate. These natural conditions, of course, cannot be evaded. But clever and prescient coffee farmers, like the ones we collaborate with, invest in drying systems that minimize the risks associated with weather.

Cresencio Izaguirre in PDF

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