Benjamin is the son of Fidel Paz, the founder of San Vicente, and together as a coffee company represent a decidedly modern approach to being a coffee professional in Honduras.

He runs a West Coast US-inspired coffee bar/roastery, manages most of San Vicente’s specialty accounts, and is himself a coffee producer, growing a few different varieties throughout his two plantations.

San Vicente is both a commercial and specialty exporter and it’s largely through his efforts together with his cousin Arturo Pas, that we see clear developments in San Vicente’s specialty program season after season.

La Orquidea is located near the villages of Cielito, Cedral and Las Flores. The varieties grown in this area are mostly Pacas, Yellow Catuai, Pacamara and Parainema. Actually the Pacas variety grown in this area produces some of the most unique flavours, unlike any other area in Central America.

Due to the amount of rain this area enjoys, it makes processing somewhat problematic. The drying process in particular, but they have overcome these challenges with building hot houses to dry the coffee, away from the rain and direct sunshine.

Santa Barbara is the name of the mountain range that stretches through this part of the world, and has contributed to the largest number of CoE winners in Honduras. There is a saying that to produce coffee that tastes fruity is not overly difficult, however to produce coffee that is clean, clear, fresh and fruity is an artform in itself.

Coffee production in Honduras played a role in the country's history and is important for the Honduran economy. It is reported that an estimated 110,000 people rely on coffee for its livelihood, with about 95% of these being small scale coffee producers.

Anaerobic Fermentation

Anaerobic fermentation or oxygen free fermentation is a new method where coffee is processed in a fully sealed and oxygen deprived fermentation tank or bag.

At some point all coffees go through some sort of fermentation, from naturals to washed. This process is when yeast and bacteria begin converting the sugars and acids in the mucilage. As an effect of this reaction, organic acids, carbon dioxide, ethyl alcohol and other compounds work until there is nothing to work with, or until the environment starves them of the conditions to react.

Under normal circumstances, the cherries are hand-picked to ensure perfect maturity, then washed to remove juice excreted during the picking process. On progressive farms they measure the Brix levels of the cherries, and anything with a higher Brix of 23 goes to the Anaerobic tanks, anything below will be used as a naturally processed coffee.

After 24-48 hours in the tank, the anaerobic process causes a huge build-up of CO2 pressure in the tank. This pressure forces the flavours of the mucilage into the coffee parchment. After fermentation the cherries are removed and left to dry with the skins or cascara still intact, resulting in the halting of the fermentation stage. The end result of this type of fermentation offers some interesting flavours with a combination of washed and natural, with bright clean fruit and sweetness.

There is an element of secrecy in this type of process and it also differs from producer to producer, country to country. It gives the producer greater control over the sugars, temperature, pressure, pH and length of ferment, thus engineering a unique flavour profile.

Even though this process has been used in many other food and beverage fields, this has become a new phenomena for coffee producers and consumers have started to enjoy further exploring the unique flavours of coffee through process experimentation.