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An Interview With Benjamin Paz

| by Meaghan Potts

Entering our 5th year working with Benjamin Paz and Beneficio San Vicente we continue to be amazed by the consistent quality of the coffee coming from the Santa Barbara region. Beneficio San Vicente has significantly changed the coffee landscape in Honduras by offering support to farmers resulting in multiple prestigious Cup of Excellence wins.

The first coffee as a part of our Small Lots Series comes from Benjamin’s cousin, Angel Arturo Paz. His coffee, La Colmena, is processed and dried by Arturo himself and then exported through Beneficio San Vicente. We are entering the last week that this coffee will be available online and we have been delighted by the enthusiasm and positive response.

Our green coffee buyer Laura had a chance to ask Benjamin a few questions about the beginnings of Beneficio San Vicente, how they assist farmers, changes in the Honduran specialty coffee community and his future plans. It is an absolute pleasure working with Benjamin and his family and we are excited to share this interview as a part of the Small Lots Series.

 

For more information about La Colmena:
https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0058/4952/files/cs-honduras-lacolmena2015.pdf?2458
For more information about the Small Lots Series:
http://www.49thparallelroasters.com/blogs/news/16425165-small-lots-series

 

An Interview With Benjamin Paz

How did Beneficio San Vicente get started?

San Vicente started 30 years ago, when my father Fidel, decided to buy coffee in Peña Blanca. There were no coffee buyers in the area, the potential was there. The C market went up and people got motivated to produce coffee. With years, we grew as company and we had the chance to increase our production and capacity, after that, we started exporting. Since then, the company has been representing Honduras in the international coffee market.

How does BSV assist farmers?

We try to support most of the activities they do at the farm, previous and during harvest. Financing is a main part of it, giving the farmers all the resources they need in order to maintain and satisfy needs in the farm, getting new land, equipment and fertilizer. Not also that, because of the close relationships we have with farmers, sometimes there are personal needs that need to be solved and we take part as well, always looking to give benefit to the relation and business connections.

Have you seen any changes in the community of Santa Barbara as a result of BSV connecting producers to buyers directly?

Definitely, I think coffee is the engine that moves Santa Barbara area and the small communities in it. This created a big impact and you can easily see it and feel it. Most of the people living in the area have a connection with coffee or are related with it. The economy is always good when coffee prices are good, and that makes a difference in the society. People can afford better health services, better education, and better ways of living. Not only this, they can have access more resources that help to the coffee process and they can deliver a better product, improve and maintain the quality.

Quality brings opportunities; and roasters, importers and cafes keep coming to find this quality and develop this relations that, at the end, benefit every member in the chain: Producers get great prices, roasters get great quality that can share with final consumers and as a result of that formula, everyone is happy and satisfied.

Why do you love coffee?

Simple, coffee is life for me, means my life. My dad met my mom because of coffee, I was born from it, I grew up with it, and now I'm working with it. Coffee helped us to connect with great people that share our same thoughts and passion, people that really put love into this and makes every single detail to be worth, and all this creates an awesome community, community that I'm proud to be part of. Hopefully I will continue working with coffee and pass this patrimony to the coming generations.

Any future plans for you?

About my plans, I have some projects, dreams and goals that I would like to achieve, in short and long term. Having my farm in full production in the coming years, and share that product with my coffee friends is one of those dreams I have. I know now what they want and like, and I want to give them coffee that would make them happy.

I want to grow our local business (we have a couple cafes here in Honduras, also a roastery)  and take it to a next level in quality terms, and show that to the local consumers that still don't have an idea of the quality of coffee we have in the country.

I want to continue developing new relationships and share more coffees with the world, connect more farmers with buyers and show that we can produce good coffee, also to help roasters to show final consumers all the efforts and sacrifice that are behind every single bag or coffee drink they consume.  

One last thing. I would love to have my own coffee company ( to be related or to be part of one) outside of Honduras some day. Would be interesting to learn more about that market and do some work over there.

Hot Chocolate Festival

| by Meaghan Potts

The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival is entering it's 5th year and we are pleased to be a part of the festivities. Both of our cafe locations will be participating by serving three different hot chocolate specials. The festival will be running January 17th - February 14th so come down to either Main St. or West 4th and try them out!

Hot Chocolate & Doughnut - Our classic dark hot chocolate and a Lucky's doughnut of your choice.

The Nanaimo Bar - A 72% dark chocolate paired with sweetened milk, topped with coconut whipped cream. Served with a doughnut shaped financier.

The Lumberjack - Spicy dark hot chocolate served with maple marshmallows and a chocolate covered wafer log.

The hot chocolates will be served from 9:00am - 9:00pm at Main St and 9:00am - 7:00 pm at Kitsilano.

Small Lots Series

| by Meaghan Potts

We are pleased to announce the launch of our Small Lots Series. This series has begun with the intention of featuring exceptional coffees that we have very limited amounts of. These coffees come from producers we are incredibly proud to work with and we believe they are some of the best offerings of the season. 

Each of these producers have a unique story that we are excited to share. Get ready to follow not only their stories, but also learn about the 49th Parallel relationship and terroir information. Each coffee will be available for a limited release of two to three weeks beginning January 9th. We will be running the series until mid March with the hope that we can continue to showcase small lots based on seasonality in the future.

Our focus has always been to source and roast delicious coffee and we couldn’t be happier to share the stories of these farmers and showcase their hard work. Be sure to order while you can, as each coffee will be on the menu for a limited time before we move onto the next in the series. Follow us on Instagram for images, updates and teasers of coffees to come! 

The first coffee as a part of the series comes from Angel Arturo Paz in the Santa Barbara region of Honduras. Arturo is an agronomist who has a unique focus on sustainability and a passion for producing incredibly sweet and clean coffee. Stay subscribed for more information about this coffee in the coming weeks!

 Honduras La Colmena will be available online Friday January 9th, 2015.

Holiday Hours 2014

| by Meaghan Potts

Season's Greetings!

The following are the hours for the holiday season. We will be closed on Christmas Day so stock up on your coffee and get ready to impress your friends and family with your brewing skills!

Main Street:

Wednesday Dec 24 - 7am - 6pm

Thursday Dec 25 - CLOSED

Friday, Dec 26 - 7am -10pm

Wednesday, Dec 31 - 7am - 8pm

Thursday Jan 1 - 7:30 - 9pm

4th Avenue:

Wednesday, Dec 24 - 7am - 6pm

Thursday, Dec 25 - CLOSED

Friday Dec 26 - 7am - 8pm

Wednesday, Dec 31- 7am -7pm

Thursday, Jan 1 - 8am - 6pm

Office/Roaster:

Wednesday, Dec 24 - 9am - 1pm

Thursday, Dec 25 - CLOSED

Friday, Dec 26 - 9am - 1pm

Wednesday, Dec 31- OPEN

Thursday, Jan 1 - CLOSED

Next week marks the release of our first Ethiopian Coffee from the west for this year, in the area of Limu Kossa - Ethiopia Tencho Organic.

This coffee has been a workhorse for us the last couple years. A stellar shelf life in its green form, and a coffee we look forward to each harvest. It has this profile of Honey and lily - really delicate and beautiful.

Look for this coffee in cafés that serve 49th to start. We may be roasting this as an SOE as well later on. Keep an eye out!

The cooperative’s history is still fairly fresh - It was Founded in 2008 by farmers working on family owned plots in the undulating mountain ridges of the area, between 1700 and 2000 meters above sea level. These farmers produce organic coffee near the birthplace of where Coffea Arabica was first discovered. The coffee is cultivated under the natural shade of trees surrounding the farmer’s land.

 

*Tencho is located in southwest Ethiopia, Oromia state, Jimma Zone, and Limu Kosa woreda (meaning neighbourhood). The Tencho washing station is 67 km from the city of Jimma and 8 km from woreda capital Limu Kossa.*


Through an unyielding commitment to increasing quality, and motivated by an opportunity to increase prices paid back to farmers, the Tencho cooperative decided to work towards producing specialty coffee. TechnoServe selection criteria was met, and the community was able to construct and operate a wet mill in 2010. Prior to the introduction of a wet mill, Tencho farmers produced lower quality coffee and sold it for decreased prices determined by private traders. In fact, the whole area of Jimma had maintained a reputation of producing coffee not quite fit for export. Success stories like the one from Tencho are so important, as they bring the entire area of Jimma to the attention of international buyers as viable and absolutely delicious coffee.

 

This year marks the ramp down of funding for Technoserve to support cooperative societies like Tencho in the west. This isn’t, luckily, going to be a “pull the plug” situation. Tencho, the neighbouring cooperative we buy from Welinso (and others), were part of a multi year program with support from Technoserve. The scope of the support is dependent on the needs of the cooperative. In Tencho’s case, with the business advice, and technical assistance, farmer training, and agronomic support - these farmers have been able to increase their production and the quality of the coffee we get to share with you next week.

Perhaps most importantly, Tencho farmers are able to actually make a living out of growing coffee - something that wasn’t necessarily true previous to the group building a wet mill and increasing the quality.

Look for this coffee next week. We are dialling in the roast profile now, and it's nearly ready. 

-Laura

Thank You.

| by Nic Witzke

A panel of 18 food & beverages experts have decided, and the fine people of Vancouver Magazine have given us the title of "Best Coffee House" in their 2014 Vancouver Restaurant Awards.

We want to say thank you to Vancouver Magazine, and to all of our customers and all you coffee enthusiasts out there that continue to make 49th Parallel what it is today. You guys fuel our fire.

We love you!

See the rest of the goods here.

The 49th family..

| by Nic Witzke

Though the 49th Parallel product is well known, many of the people behind it are relatively unknown to general public.

We'd like to share with you the people that make everything happen behind the scenes, on the road, and at origin. 

Maybe you've placed an order with Tara, seen Kyle in the cafe, and tasted Mike's roasts.. But now's your chance to get to know them a little more up close and personal.

We are happy to introduce you to the 49th Parallel family.

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