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E-auction opens the door to the worldwide growth of Honduran specialty coffee

DO Marcala
The appeal of the coffee certified under the Marcala DO is primarily its unique acidity.

San Jose, 2 September 2020 (IICA).  – On September 8, Honduras will move one step further in its efforts to increase the recognition of the quality of its coffee, by holding its first global e-auction.

The event will auction off 36 nano lots and micro lots of specialty coffee, chosen from among the more than one hundred participants in the Marcala Coffee Cultivation Festival, which was held previously.

The September 8 competition is organized by the Café Marcala Denomination of Origin (DO), with the support of the European Union (EU) and Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), through the Central American Program for Integrated Coffee Rust Management (PROCAGICA).

“Our aim is to have at least 50 buyers”, said Walter López, President of the Marcala DO. “This is a business opportunity for producers who are members of the DO association to better position ourselves at the international level. Our quality is internationally recognized, but there is no direct sales channel from the producers to the roasters and we are trying to shorten the chain”.

PROCAGICA is providing the technological platform to conduct the auction, which is the first of its kind in Central America. After the auction the heads of the Marcala DO hope to continue making use of this technological tool.

“Thanks to the support of IICA and the European Union, through PROCAGICA, we are going to now have a platform to conduct these activities year after year, which is critical, because all we were lacking was the tool to be able to launch an international auction”, said Zoila Morena, Manager of the Marcala DO.

Moreno explained that, “We think that this platform is going to become a mechanism for sustainability and we have been studying the possibility of offering different coffees to the international market under the Denomination of Origin seal and to have a direct relationship with buyers and the entities in our own database.

According to the manager, since 2006, the DO has certified approximately 20,000 quintals of gold coffee on average each year.

The appeal of the coffee certified under the Marcala DO is primarily its unique acidity.

 “It is not a harmful acidity”, explained Moreno, “but it is a citric acidity that sometimes has an orange taste with hints of lime and buyers love it”.

She noted that, “The coffee is also very aromatic, with scents of jasmine and many high-altitude fruits such as peaches, apples, apricots and blackberries. Everything is cultivated according to strict altitude specifications,  on average 1450 meters above sea level, and cultivated using good environmental practices, which helps to ensure that we can maintain the consistency of the taste and mainly the characteristic acidity”.

Currently, the Marcala DO is exported throughout the world, primarily to Europe.

President of the Marcala DO, Walter López, explained that, “We are exploring the Asian markets and believe that the auction will help us to introduce our coffee to these markets”.

He noted that, “We want to conduct annual auctions in which producers can compete to take part in the international auction, and to establish this as a regular event in the Marcala region. The main purpose is to educate producers about cultivating specialty coffee and to hold the auction to award their efforts”.

More information:

Harold Gamboa, General Coordinator of PROCAGICA