In Honduras, coffee farmers are so serious about organics that they’ve got a biospheric buffer zone around their community with signs reading something like No chemicals come in here! Members of COMSA coffee trading company are truly alchemizing their native soil in ways that are the envy of farmers in other nations.
The farmers of Permata Gayo were ready to produce their highest-quality coffee ever. By November, the bright white coffee flowers had transformed into budding green fruits, and the limbs of their coffee trees were swollen with promise. A new processing facility was ready to receive ripe, red cherries that would turn into export-grade green coffee.
Then the rains came. And they stayed longer than normal. The sun that was needed to ripen coffee cherries and bring sweetness to the seed inside, was scarce this season.
As a result, Permata Gayo is anticipating a 25-30 percent drop in yield from last year’s coffee harvest. But they are the lucky ones, according to Florent Gout, a green coffee buyer with Cooperative Coffees. “From an island perspective, they say that the loss is about 50 percent,” Florent said of the coffee harvest in Sumatra, Indonesia, one of coffee’s most popular origins.
Picture yourself in the Sumatran jungle mountains of North Indonesia, a crescendo of mountains shooting up from the sea where many locals’ lives depend on the coffee industry. This is one of the most beautifully lush regions of the world but fraught with historical mistreatment that lead to separatist fighting since 1976.