domenica 13 marzo 2016

Coffee journal from HONDURAS - Umami Kaffee Camp

The German version of the Umami Kaffee Camp Honduras Special Edition 2016, is now on its fourth day, with its participants, fully immersed in the amazing world of coffee. The day consists of two sessions: in the morning the participants have the opportunity to visit the coffee plantations, experiencing the coffee producers daily life, the various phases of the coffee value chain and the places in which it takes place, in order to have a more practical and concrete approach to the world of coffee; instead, during the afternoons, the participants take part in face-to-face in face-to-face professional lectures and trainings of SCAE - Specialty Coffee Association of Europe, Coffee Diploma System, held by authorized SCAE trainers.
During the first morning, the Coffee lovers had the chance to experience the everyday life of the so called “cortadores” (coffee pickers), in a 4-hour coffee cherries picking at “Finca La Victoria” plantation. After a careful selection of the most mature and red cherries, which produce a sweeter and enjoyable coffee, the participants experienced the pulping phase, bringing the selected cherries and the pulp directly to the drying room, then. Later, they visited the “Cooperativa Cafetalera Capucas Limitada (COCAFCAL) - ”, provided with the classrooms and with a small coffee shop, in which participants can have the practical sessions of the course. After an introduction on the history of coffee, the participants have chosen the various modules of the SCAE Coffee Diploma System, which they would like to attend during the Camp.

On the second day, after the first SCAE system examination, the participants visited the nursery of the cooperative. Here, they learnt about the whole coffee plant cultivation process. Then, the coffee lovers selected the suitable beans that eventually will give birth to healthy coffee plants, then they planted them in a lump of land designed for the first months of the coffee plant life. Later, they had the opportunity to do a further selection of the best plants (those that come to light after more or less 45 days), to plant them temporarily in plastic vessels, in order to preserve and nurture them until they are ready to be transferred directly to the plantations. The day continued with the lectures on the various CDS modules.

On the third day, coffee professionals visited Café Solar, the part of the cooperative, devoted to the drying process of the coffee beans. It is a fairly complex process, which must take into account many factors, such as humidity, temperature and careful selection of the best beans, which thus requires a lot of manpower. They had the opportunity to do this work in the coffee sample they collected during the first morning of the Camp. This latter continued with the lessons on the different CDS modules. However, all of this, with a good specialty coffee espresso to start perfectly the afternoon.

The entire mornings of the fifth and sixth days were dedicated to the meeting with two very active local producers within the cooperative: Isidro and Panchito. Both of them produce a high quality coffee and over the years have been able establish direct relationships with buyers around the world. Both of them have implemented and improved the system of processing of coffee beans, from the initial stage until the drying stage in the drying rooms, built near their houses. Thus, the participants of the Campus had the chance to experience the coffee processing with small-scale machinery. The meeting with the local producers was particularly appreciated, as it has allowed the participants to get to know closely the lives of coffee farmers, with the challenges and joys of a small-scale producers. The day then continued with lectures of SCAE Trainer.

Saturday and Sunday were days off, spent enjoying canopy, horseback riding and hiking. A good way to rest and relax, enjoying the sun and the beautiful climate.

Monday and Tuesday of the second week were entirely devoted to lessons on coffee roasting, from the Foundation to the Intermediate level. 

The participants also had the chance to learn the basics of Cropster roasting software. While the lectures were held, a small group of participants had the opportunity to visit the coffee producers living within the Celaque National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage protected park. The situation of local producers here is slightly different, due to the circumstances in which they live and due to the limited knowledge they have acquired, which led to an abandonment of coffee plantations.

The last two days were spent in Copan where participants had the opportunity to visit the Ancient Mayan ruins.

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