When you find yourself in Peña Blanca, Honduras with four coffee professionals you can guarantee a few things. You will most definitely eat baleadas every morning. And they will be up and stirring before you, most likely ready to hand you a cup of coffee brewed with their simple, yet very functional travel coffee setup.
We learned very quickly that the glue to every successful journey is a good host and guide. Our guide was Benjamin Paz Muñoz and his father runs the coffee mill at Beneficio San Vicente. We also learned that shooting a film about coffee in Honduras requires a strong back and a good pair of boots. Devin Chapman was sporting a slick new pair of Danner Boots and I showed up with a pair of Nike +Lunarglide running shoes or “runnahs” as my Australian Camera Assistant so affectionately calls them. Needless to say they were more like “slidahs” because we litteraly slid down the mountain after our 1900 meter interview that we were able to capture in HDRx with the RED EPIC camera with the very charming David Mancia who sells coffee to Coava Coffee in Portland, OR.
Learning was the main theme of this trip for me. One of the most interesting things I learned was that the coffee farmers here in Honduras (probably like most coffee farmers around the world) don’t know what their coffee tastes like. Sure they have had their coffee before, but most of them haven’t had it so carefully cared for and roasted with that particular coffee in mind. While we were there, we were treated to some coffee that was roasted to the color of asphalt by one of the farmers wives. She just kept letting it roast. After it petrified we had the pleasure of grinding it up on her hand mill in her house that was complete with a pristine dirt floor and some very photo-worthy tools of some sort. Another interesting thing is that it was roasted with a block of sugar cane, making the one-packet or two a decision of the past.
This trip originated out of a conversation in the lovely balcony at Sightglass coffee with Kevin Bohlin formerly of Ritual Coffee Roasters , now with his new coffee company, St. Frank Coffee. Kevin told me how he was going to brew coffee for a farmer at his house and then make espresso drinks for several farmers in the area and let them taste their coffee roasted and prepared in a more delicate way. Sold. The results were so good that you’re going to have to wait for the film to see what happened.