The Bonaventure Coffee Project is born from the decade-long friendship and mutual commitment to relationship specialty coffee between Kevin Bohlin of Saint Frank Coffee in San Francisco and Benjamin Paz of Beneficio San Vicente in Honduras. The mission of this project, however is to open up the good fortune of this community to both aspiring producers as well as roasters of all sizes and stages looking to participate in the generative and redemptive flow of a relational specialty coffee stream. Below are a few of the people and teams that make up the Bonaventure Coffee Project community from producers to partner roasters and the Bonaventure team working to make these connections.
We are representing nearly 30 individual producers from the major villages of Santa Barbara as well as a handful of others from beyond the mountain seeking opportunity and connection. The bulk of these are located in the historic villages of El Cielito with producers like Juan Benitez and his son Ismael as well as the village of El Cedral with Anna Rosa Izaguirre. In addition to these villages there are exceptional coffees from other Santa Barbara villages Las Flores, El Sauce, La Leona, and Los Andes. Beyond the mountain we represent producers in Yorito Yoro and the San Luis Planes both closer to the city of San Pedro Sula.
Most of these producers farm between one half to one full acre of land producing between ten to twelve 69kg bags of green coffee but representative lots can range from one to four bags all the way to forty bags. We look forward to inviting you to learn more and connect to coffees of these people and places but here are some examples of the coffees we are honored to share.
Ismael Benitez is an inspiring example of all that makes this mountain so special. At the young age of 34, Ismael is producing his own coffee for the specialty market on a steep plot of land totaling less than a single acre just above the village of El Cielito in an even smaller community called El Ocotillo. In the 21st century it is exceedingly rare to encounter young women and men venturing into their own coffee production with enthusiasm as most succeeding generations of coffee farmers opt toward migration to cities or even to the United States. Ismael, however grew up seeing his uncle Natividad Benitez win the Honduras Cup of Excellence in 2005 establishing a relationship with 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, not to mention a finals appearance in the 2015 WBC with Charles Babinski. After another uncle, Sebastian, followed a similar path with Ritual Roasters and then barista Kevin Bohlin in the finals of the 2011 USBC, Ismael's father Juan eventually converted his own conventional coffee production toward specialty working with Verve Coffee Roasters laying multiple paths of inspiration for Ismael to grow up and invest in his own specialty coffee.
Ismael's young coffee presents everything we love about the El Cielito and Ocotillo terroir through compelling site-driven coffee. Bright flavors of yellow and orange fruits like grapefruit, tamarind, pineapple, and apricot dominate with a rich texture that deepened by delicious pine and savory aromatics unique to the Pacas variety on these slopes. Ismael represents the global norm for humble small scale coffee farmers but make no mistake, this is world class coffee from a world class producer.
One village down from El Cielito further south you will find the more populous village of El Cedral made famous in the world of coffee by the many mighty Morenos. Here you will find Anna Rosa Izaguirre Trochez and her nearly two acre farm Flores del Milagro. Anna Rosa's father was one of the more productive producers in the area as she grew working up with coffee. She married and moved away to the coast but when her family ran into economic struggles her father offered her some of his land and invited her to return home with the new opportunities of specialty coffee to make a secure living even with a small piece of land.
Anna Rosa now processes her Pacas and Catimor plants with her brother-in-law Marior Moreno and her success is leading her to acquire more land and even replace her Catimor for the higher quality Pacas, a compelling sign of producer who is all in for quality specialty coffee. This is a wonderful showing of El Cedral terroir in Pacas with both tropical citrus as well as sweet berry notes but the resinous pine notes from El Cielito show more juniper like here in El Cedral.
While he has performed every job at his family’s Beneficio San Vicente over the years, we believe that Benjamin Paz’ most significant role is facilitating the relationships between growers and buyers. He works tirelessly to drive the sustainable interests and needs of the producers along with the quality interests of buyers all founded on the principle of relationship and commitment. If you speak with any coffee professional who has tasted these coffees and worked with this community you will see their eyes light up and hear them speak with a sense of pride, enthusiasm and ownership. This truly is a special place with truly special people. The community and collaborative spirit has grown and cultivated such excellent coffee and that spirit has been led by the Paz family. Amazing.
Kevin Bohlin founded Saint Frank Coffee with a drive to integrate relational connection, quality and service throughout the supply stream. The relationship coffee sourcing model for Saint Frank was cultivated on the Santa Barbara Mountain of Honduras with Beneficio San Vicente. Over the years Kevin has connected numerous roasters and buyers to Benjamin Paz and these inspiring producers, some of which are now household specialty coffee brand names and some are small family run businesses much like the producers themselves. Kevin believes that the mission of collaboration and inclusive personal and communal growth for the people that make up the supply stream is a human one worth pursuing at the expense of competition and transactional exclusivity.
We are partnering with a number of exciting roasters from all over the country from a range of sizes. We have been so encouraged by the response of courage and sincerity from wonderful business owners and green buyers from those just getting their young roasting operation off the ground to established companies with well earned reputations. Here are a few of the roasters partnering with us in the Bonaventure Coffee Project.