Explore the Source: Organic Honduran Coffee

While we have many Honduran coffee offerings at Royal New York, the ones we receive from COMSA are particularly special to us! Coffee Trading Operations Manager Andrew Blyth & Coffee Trader Mike Ward explain why this is an important relationship for us, for them, and for you.

Who is COMSA?

Café Orgánico Marcala Sociedad Anónima, better known to the coffee world as COMSA, was founded in 2001. Starting as a collective of only 60 Honduran coffee farmers, they began to transition from conventional farming practices to organic. After partnering with Corporación Educativa para el Desarrollo Costarricense, or CEDECO, the members of COMSA led the best practices for conservation and preservation. Over time, their yields and quality increased. COMSA members could eventually sell their crop to specialty buyers for a higher price, and their association began to grow.

COMSA teaches all members about the 5 M’s of sustainable farming: organic Matter, Microorganisms, Minerals, live Molecules, and gray Matter (brain power!). In the past 18 years, COMSA has incorporated over 1200 members and just continues to grow.

Royal New York & COMSA

Royal New York has been a proud and long-term partner of COMSA. In 2008, I traveled to Honduras with John Cossette, the veteran coffee trader at our sister company, Royal Coffee in Oakland, CA. We were in search of new Honduran coffee suppliers and better quality lots. Of the many groups we visited, COMSA immediately showed promise on the cupping table. Once we had the chance to meet the people behind the coffees we cupped, we knew there was an opportunity for something great. Fast forward a few years…

Honduran Coffee Micro Lots

The Royal NY and COMSA relationship expands, more coffee, new programs, joint research projects, experimental varieties, and processing methods. One of the more long-term partnerships within this relationship was the creation of the micro lots program. While micro lot offerings today aren’t rare or exclusive, they weren’t really available, especially within a Cooperative farming structure. In a Cooperative, there tends to be an “all for one, one for all” mentality that doesn’t always support separate better lots from the bulk.

COMSA was the exception to this mentality. They viewed micro lots as an opportunity to elevate their producers and growers from their surrounding community. Rodolfo Penalba, along with his wife Miriam Perez and other leaders, decided to showcase some of their more established members. In their minds, choosing selective members who had specialized picking and processing methods, as well as separating the highest and best parts of their production could yield a special lot.

So, that’s exactly what they did! In 2013, they chose 3 producers who were dedicated to achieving the purest of quality and asked them to separate their best. Royal acted as their internal quality check by flying down to taste the lots and discuss their processes. Needless to say, we purchased all three lots and immediately began to focus on recruiting more members for the next year.

Where this Honduran Coffee Is Now

The following year, there were nearly 40 participants. Now, there are more than 100+ members who produce a special lot each year, satisfying discerning roasters all over the globe.

This year is special because it marks the 10th year of our joint Micro Lot program. Of course, I am proud simply being able to source these coffees from our friends and partners at COMSA. However, I’m also proud of their dedication to quality as an entry point for continued community improvement. COMSA has turned their town of Marcala, Honduras, into a much different place than it was during my first visit 14 years ago. Truthfully, it’s one of the best success stories I’ve seen in my 19 years in coffee. I’m grateful to call them friends and business partners.

An excellent relationship yields excellent coffee! In fact, recent arrivals include this year’s micro lots, containing a wide variety of profiles. We have full lots of great washed and natural coffee COMSA, as well as some bags from their women-produced group, Manos de Mujer. Check out our current offerings from COMSA under the Organic section of our offerings list.

Shop RNY # 53802 Organic Honduras COMSA “Manos de Mujer”

Shop Current Offerings