GREAT PEOPLE GROW INCREDIBLE COFFEE
What starts as a chance encounter, leads to a significant relationship, an insight into community spirit, and one incredible coffee. Meet the husband and wife team behind El Puente.
It’s 2018 and Lucy is on a mission to procure new coffees for ST ALi. She’s travelling through Brazil, searching for the best-of-the-best to bring back home. While in Brazil, she happens to meet Marysabel Caballero, a passionate and vibrant woman with deep roots in the coffee tradition in Honduras.
Marysabel is a fourth-generation coffee farmer and producer, part of a blood-line of growers stretching back to the beginning of the 20th Century and her great-grandfather.
Along with her husband Moises Herrera, Marysabel runs El Puente, a 200-hectare farm in the region of Chinacla in La Paz.
Lucy travels to Honduras in 2019, staying with the Caballero’s at El Puente and finally getting a chance to try their coffees. She is instantly impressed by the set-up of the farm and their processing facilities -- and equally inspired by Marysabel’s warmth and generosity.
Lucy found that coffee at El Puente is hand-harvested by a team of highly-trained, mostly female pickers. When asked why they prefer to employ females, Marysabel noted that they found that women score better at colour selection when picking ripe cherries, and are much gentler on the plant. The Caballero’s are also committed to paying a higher wage to their employees, a strategy that ensures their skilled workers return season after season.
As well as being a successful coffee producer, Marysabel Cabellero is a local senator. Her sense of generosity and community-focus is clear when walking through town. She knows everyone by name and is admired for her work in building schools and local houses, along with funding community-based projects.
As growers, the Caballero’s have focused mainly on the Catuai varietal. Catuai is a traditional cultivar of the region but has fallen out of favour for more easy-growing varietals that are more resistant to disease. El Puente has also experimented with Gesha varietals. Their 2016 release took first-place at the Cup of Excellence and broke the record for the highest price ever at auction.