Guama Danta: The Art of Making a Community Lot
Guama Danta was one of the first community lot coffees Genuine Origin ever stocked. The communities and producers were well known to Molinos de Honduras (MDH), our sister company in Honduras, and the flavors were classic Honduras: rich cocoa, sugary sweetness, mild nuttiness and surprising fruit.
We have stuck by the communities that produce our Guama Danta community lot for four years and it keeps getting better! Along the way we have been introduced to so many extraordinary producers. Farmers who are dedicated to their crops and land, who have navigated a brutal coffee market, and who have continued to support their families and neighbors.
In the community of El Son, municipality of Lepaterique, department of Francisco Morazán, lives Alfonso Ramos, one of our extraordinary Guama Danta coffee producers. At 65 years old, don Alfonso is dynamic, sociable and hardworking. A natural leader, he works tirelessly for his farm and his community with a youthful spirit.
Mr. Ramos grew up on coffee farms. He started out as coffee picker on his parent’s farms in the 1960's. In the mid-1970s he started his own coffee farm. In addition to coffee, he cultivates corn and beans and also raises cattle. Today, he works closely with MDH Comayagua to sell his coffee, which is located 2 ½–3 hours by vehicle from his home.
Doña Juana, Mr. Ramos’ wife, tends the household and makes baked goods as a sideline. She sells donuts and breads in the municipality of Lepaterique, located about 16 km from the community (1 hour traveling by bus). Her income helps maintain the coffee farm and support her family through the crisis in coffee prices.
One of the most remarkable things about Alfonso is his commitment to the community of Lepaterique and the people inhabiting the area. He travels by foot to visit area producers, helping them move their coffees to a central pick-up location. This allows inaccessible farmers to have their coffee picked up by MDH trucks and subsequently become part of our global supply chain.
Some of the communities he visits are la Estancia, El Espino, Lapateriquillo, and El Son. The purpose of these visits is to ensure producers in each area have enough coffee to load into the truck.
When the truck arrives in the community of El Espino, for example, and they load the coffees, he proceeds to go to two smaller communities Culguaque and Regadillos to help other producers load their coffees. The process of moving the coffees to a central location and loading takes around six hours total in which Don Alfonso is helping them the entire time.
Once the coffee is loaded they travel to MDH Comayagua which takes around 2 days due to road condition. Normally they arrive between 12am — 1am and wait till morning to unload the coffees.
Don Alfonso is known at MDH for a phrase he usually tells producers “Ya estamos en el puesto y vendamos aqui” which translates to “we are already in the position, so we sell here”. During the price negotiation don Alfonso looks out for all the producers so they are paid fairly.
When the negotiations are done, each producer is paid via cashier’s check and they walk in groups to the nearest bank to cash it. Once they are done they travel back to Lepaterique where they wait until the next day to travel back to their own communities.
Developing and continuing a community lot does not just happen. It takes dedication, hard work and the kind of leadership displayed by Don Alfonso and the producers of the Comayagua region to make it happen.