Onetime Director of Coffee Peter Giuliano's story of identifying the "purple princess" on a cupping table in the 2005 Cup of Excellence competition in Honduras is Counter Culture legend, and, beyond that, part of our direct trade relationship canon. We purchased a small amount of the farm's coffee for the first time in 2006, through a Q Auction, and made our first visit to their farm in March of 2007 with only the most basic of e-mail correspondence preceding our arrival. They welcomed us with immeasurable warmth and good humor, which, combined with the consistently delicious coffee (sometimes purple-flower- and purple-fruit-tinged), makes Finca El Puente a perennial favorite.
Marysabel Caballero's maternal grandfather, Felipe García, established the family's coffee farms and passed them down to his daughter, Sandra, who shares ownership with her husband, Fabio, and their children, Marysabel and Fabio Junior. The family has divided their land into a number of parcels, assigning specific areas to individual family members who manage those areas independently. Finca El Puente, for example, is one of Marysabel's areas, which she owns and manages with her husband, Moisés Herrera, along with land that he brought to the marriage.
Originally from Guatemala, Moisés came to Honduras in the 1980s for work with a Guatemalan coffee company, but he ended up buying some land of his own outside of Marcala and becoming a coffee grower even before he met Marysabel.
Together, they dedicated themselves to producing the highest-quality coffee they could, and, when they heard about the first coffee quality contests in Honduras, they naturally entered the coffee they had grown together. Right away, their coffee started to win prizes in these contests, and coffee from Finca El Puente began a winning streak that is unparalleled in coffee history: this coffee placed at the top of every coffee contest ever entered. In 2005, at the Honduras Cup of Excellence Competition, Finca El Puente's berry-lavender aroma and silky body famously earned it the nickname "The Purple Princess" when Peter first tasted it on the cupping table. The name, of course, stuck.
Explanation of the Name
El Puente translates to “the bridge” in Spanish and is named so for a section of the farm that is close to a bridge that goes over a natural spring.
Marcala is in the southern-Honduran region of La Paz, which is approximately an hour drive from the border with El Salvador. This high-elevation town is dry and dusty, with more pine trees than one might expect in a tropical climate, but the Caballero-Herrera's farms are blessed with plentiful natural springs, and they have chosen to conserve a good deal of their land in order to protect this resource.
Most people meet Marysabel first, because she is outgoing, arrestingly lovely, and quick to laugh—she is the embodiment of charm—but the rest of her family are just as warm. Fabio Senior is a witty adventurer who would never turn down a risk-laden trip or endeavor, especially if it holds the promise of good food. Moises, who usually plays the straight man to Marysabel and Fabio's energy and hilarity, is one of the savviest coffee producers we have ever met.
Elevation: 1,400 – 1,653 meters
Post-Harvest Process: Washed
Harvest Time: January–March 2015
Certifications: Direct Trade