Among the forested foothills of Honduras’ Mount Celaque, in the western municipality of San Pedro de Copán, the Slow Food Las Capucas Sustainable Coffee Village is charting a new course.
Coffee has long been the main source of income for the people of Las Capucas, a means of cultural and economic sustenance for its 1000 producers. Arabica grows abundantly throughout this UNESCO-protected landscape, nurtured by the tropical humid climate and nutrient-rich soil, and intercropped with plantain and bananas at an altitude of 1200 meters.
The Cooperativa Cafetalera Capucas Limitada (Cocafcal) is committed to embracing agroecological practices and to ensuring sustainability along the entire coffee supply chain. This was what inspired them to join the Slow Food Coffee Coalition, by founding the Las Capucas Sustainable Coffee Village in 2021, and what underlies the launch of their first-ever specialty coffee in collaboration with De’Longhi.
The Las Capucas Sustainable Coffee Village: Rooted in Tradition
The Slow Food Las Capucas Sustainable Coffee Village operates around three main objectives: ensuring the commercialization of good quality coffee, improving access to new markets, and generating income for coffee producer families who are committed to environmental and productive sustainability.
But the community’s roots run deeper than the foundation of the Slow Food community.
Omar Rodriguez, the cooperative’s general manager, remembers growing up with coffee. His family founded Las Capucas’ first coffee business when his mother inherited the land from her father, and after graduating from university he returned to Capucas to continue the community’s traditions and unite the areas’s producers as part of a cooperative.
The Birth of a Slow Food Community
The founding of the Slow Food Las Capucas Sustainable Coffee Village was the fruit of a close cooperation between the Cooperativa Cafetalera Capucas Limitada and Umami Area Honduras. A local Honduran company with an international shareholder base, Umami Area Honduras envisioned establishing a coffee plantation that placed sustainability front and center, and that produced single-origin 100% Arabica coffee for conscientious consumers.
The Las Capucas Sustainable Coffee Village was among the first Slow Food communities to implement the Participatory Guarantee System, committing themselves to the Slow Food philosophy of good, clean and fair. This means embracing agroecology to cultivate a sensorily enjoyable product, respecting the environment through the recycling of resources, and respecting the dignity of workers with the value they deserve. But it also means becoming part of a wider international community based on shared values and principles.
“Being part of the Slow Food Coffee Coalition lets us share the work we do in our countries,” says Pancho, a member of the Cooperative Las Capucas since 2000 and adherent to the Participatory Guarantee System. Producers of the Coffee Coalition speak the same language—the language of coffee, which transcends countries and unites cultures.
Membership also brings visibility, amplifying the voices of everyone in the coffee chain. “We emphasize to consumers that there is a difference from one coffee to another,” adds Francisco.
De’Longhi joined the Slow Food Coffee Coalition in 2021, the same year as the founding of the Las Capucas Sustainable Coffee Village. Now, in pursuit of its shared goal with Slow Food to ensure good, clean and fair coffee for all, De’Longhi has launched its first Slow Food specialty coffee – “Honduras”.
“Honduras” comes directly from the Las Capucas Sustainable Coffee Village, and is De’Longhi’s first coffee with the Slow Food Coffee Coalition label. In two roasting profiles, its 100% Arabica medium-light and medium-dark coffee beans are certified as good, clean and fair through a Participatory Guarantee System, meaning they are as sustainable and equitable as they are flavorful.
Producers of the Las Capucas Sustainable Coffee Village are committed to implementing agroecological practices to minimize the environmental impact of coffee production and promote sustainability across the coffee supply chain.
They embrace biodiversity, planting their own nurseries of coffee plants and other fruit and vegetables to sell in the community and encourage the consumption of healthy food. And to promote the pollination of coffee and significantly increase yields, most producers also act as beekeepers, caring for the apis mellifera and autochthonous meliponas, and processing and selling honey from a premise within the cooperative.
Every Slow Food community is committed to defending biological diversity. But this can only be achieved by safeguarding social equity. The Las Capucas Sustainable hosts a company of 100 women producers “Flor de Campo” who roast their coffee onsite. It houses its own university, which attracts both local and international students. And it organizes coffee competitions and sports tournaments for all producers and staff.
Slow Food and De’ Longhi: Driving Change from Within
De’Longhi is one of the main partner of the Slow Food Coffee Coalition and plays a fundamental role in driving the change to make coffee good, clean and fair. Sponsors like De’Longhi are essential for the coalition’s success, supporting its activities, sharing their knowledge of the production chain, and enlarging the network of people promoting good, clean and fair coffee for all.
Slow Food believes that change must come from all directions, at all levels of the production chain: farmers, traders, roasters, baristas, cooks, consumers, private companies and institutions. If together we can enact changes in our global practices and values, we can really have an impact and secure the world we want. As a signatory of the Coffee Coalition manifesto, De’Longhi is committed to listening to grassroots networks and making sure farmers are given the visibility they deserve: “Honduras” is an important step towards achieving this.