Capucas: Case Study 2
You may recognize the name “Capucas” from the Honduran coffee we often carry at A&E Roastery. Cafe Capucas is a coffee cooperative of farmers in the mountainous region of Capucas, Honduras. Our visit to Capucas reminded us of just how much the coffee industry can accomplish in countries of coffee origin, when the people involved are honest, hardworking, and kind.
Overcoming the odds
Capucas has a phenomenal backstory. In 10 years, it has gone from being almost bankrupt to being a beacon of success in a very rural, poor community. Omar, the co-op manager, went to college to study marketing. He returned to Capucas to take over as manager, and he inherited a bankrupt co-op. With the backing of Beneficio Santa Rosa, Omar went to the bank to either close or take a huge gamble. He took the gamble and it has paid off. Omar has marketed every aspect of Capucas, getting attention from several key international resource organizations such
as Heifer International, Green Mountain, and others. He built a cupping lab so he and other farmers could sample their coffees. He also built a resort so green buyers can come and sample coffee in luxury, which of course has led to help with grading coffees and increased sales. Omar encourages farmers in the co-op to diversify into tomatoes, wood trees, honey, and now fish and lemon grass. His cooperative functions as a centralized, supportive community.
Omar did have advantages in life. Learning English and attending college helped give him an edge to succeed in a tough world. His father is a member of the national congress, and his family has land. Thankfully, Omar has taken his advantages and used them for the good of all the co-op members and surrounding families. He has a pure heart, and wants his members and their kids to have better lives. It is people like Omar, with skills, resources, and commitment, who are able to make sustainable changes in countries of coffee origin.
Built on a foundation of trust
Omar is very close to Douglas, the manager of Beneficio Santa Rosa. They both are devout Christians and their faith and moral principles have guided their actions. The level of trust they have established with both the Beneficio and Capucas is amazing in a culture so overrun with corruption. The co-op members have extreme trust in Omar, so he can really do what he sees best with their full backing and support.
The community has benefited enough from Omar’s successful enterprises to know that he is a capable and worthy leader. They recently received a $400,000 interest-free loan from an investment group called Kiva. Half that amount went to capital improvements and half went to member improvements. They are at a point of retaining and hiring young, educated people to develop the co-op even more. Young employees, like Rodrigo Retes, conduct experiments at the co-op to study how a variety of growing techniques affect the flavor of beans. The quality of life at Capucas is extremely high for that region of the world. Dentists come through regularly; they have a full-time doctor and clinic open 8 hours a day. There is a virtual university in collaboration with the University of Honduras (mainly funded by Fair Trade premiums) that co-op members can attend. Members have food stability, and lots of job opportunities for teenagers in the resort and co-op. The list goes on and on. Capucas serves as a model of success, and at the heart is a selfless risk-taker.
Capucas coffee coming soon to your table
We sourced some great coffees during our visit to Capucas, and we cannot wait to bring them to you! As you enjoy them you can know that they were grown sustainably by people who care about the earth and their community. They were also purchased and roasted with love in Amherst, NH.