Subida coffee is special, not just because of its supreme flavor and the greater organization’s role in educating and empowering youth. Most North Americans can’t shop for local coffee, and Subida is produced in a unique and exciting locale: Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras. Although Honduran coffee was previously used in blends, some growers are gaining recognition for the flavor. Let’s take a look at where the coffee originates: Santa Rosa, Honduras.
To distinguish between Latin American countries, know that Honduras is in Central America. Specifically, it’s on the isthmus (land bridge) running between Mexico and South America (Colombia). Western Honduras is the most mountainous region of Honduras. The high elevations are known as “always spring.” The western region is near the borders with Guatemala to the west and north and El Salvador to the south.
Pre-Coffee Growing History and Population
Like most of Latin America, Western Honduras is home to an indigenous population that was colonized by the Spanish. Honduras began to self-govern in 1823. A major landmark in Western Honduras is Copán Ruinas, a spectacular complex of Mayan Ruins. The ancient city was inhabited from 300 b.c. to 900 a.d. It lies less than three hours away from Santa Rosa by car.
Unlike other highly regulated, crowded and manicured Mayan ruins such as Chichen Itza near Cancún, Copán offers a more intimate experience with the pyramids and stone structures. Large trees grow atop some of the ruins. Tours take visitors high up on the stone structures and weave through walls adorned with ancient Mayan carvings.
Santa Rosa de Copán
Mission Upreach produces its Subida coffee just outside the small city of Santa Rosa de Copán. The name pays homage to the Mayan city, whose Mayan name was probably different. Names throughout the country, like the capital Tegucigalpa (Tecuztlicallipan in Nahuatl), show strong indigenous roots. The name Santa (Saint) Rosa evidences its Spanish and Christian heritage. The full name of Santa Rosa de Copán is like a hybrid that’s similar to the blended heritage of the people.
Santa Rosa is the seat of the department (state) of Copán. Santa Rosa has been involved in the tobacco trade since 1765. The Royal Tobacco Company was founded there. The valleys surrounding Copán still produce quality tobacco. Today, the Zino line of tobacco producers make the famous cigar Flor de Copán. Luckily, tobacco didn’t remain the only exportable crop in the area. The production of coffee in Honduras is growing. The high western regions are prime areas.
Santa Rosa has colonial architecture that ranges from impressive to quaint. The most famous building is the picturesque white cathedral in the town square. It’s flanked by other interesting colonial buildings. Cobblestone streets help residents and visitors envision what Santa Rosa was like in colonial times.
Sitting at 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) atop a plateau, Santa Rosa is not as hot and humid as most of Central America. It offers a break from the heat, so it’s a cool enough place to have a very fresh cup of hot coffee (pun intended)! Just southwest of town is where the Moses Project works hard at producing the best coffee in Honduras. However, it’s not just about the quality of the coffee; it’s about giving young people opportunities.
The People of Honduras and Santa Rosa
The people of Honduras are warm, family-oriented, resourceful and hardworking. They love coffee, and Santa Rosa is locally famous for a coffee-flavored liqueur that’s been produced there for decades: Timoshenko. Interestingly, it’s named after a Soviet General in World War II. Since Santa Rosa is less touristy than Copán Ruinas, other sites and the beaches, a visitor to Santa Rosa could find an authentic Honduran experience. There are still sights in and around the city as well.
Nevertheless, Honduras in general has remained less developed. Over the past twenty years, the challenges have been many and varied. Political and economic turmoil have taken their toll. In 2009, a coup ousted then-president Zelaya. Gang violence and corruption have been persistent problems. Increasingly bad droughts and flooding have caused additional hardship, especially for small farmers.
Honduran Agricultural Production
Droughts and flooding in Honduras have been detrimental to the economy. The main agricultural staples are corn, bananas, sugarcane and coffee. As of 2020, coffee was the export with the highest value. While Colombian and Costa Rican coffee have been popular, coffee development is exciting in Guatemala and especially at high altitudes in Honduras. Producing coffee that’s so flavorful and carefully crafted that it merits international exportation is an incredible opportunity. Bringing outside funds into a region that can stabilize and grow can send positive economic ripple effects throughout the area.
Growing Premium Coffee and Empowering Youth
With coordination and commitment, coffee cultivation and processing can bring a host of benefits. While some international companies exploit environments with stellar agricultural conditions or inexpensive labor in order to wring out high profits, Mission Upreach is doing the opposite. Its endeavor The Moses Project is proving that international relationships can be used not for profit, but to do good work. They can provide jobs, education and local economic stimulation.
Subida Coffee Co. is a premium coffee brand produced by the Moses Project. It’s a 120-acre commercial farm and educational center. Since many teenage boys do not continue their education due to financial or logistical hurdles, the Moses Project was formed to help the boys learn agriculture. It also creates a foundation of agriculture and food production skills to invigorate the community.
Although many people wish they could visit such a great facility in Honduras, coffee-loving folks who want to support the Moses Project can purchase Subida Coffee in the U.S. It’s shipped to Memphis, Tennessee. There, it’s roasted in small batches before being shipped. It’s specialty-grade coffee. The dark roast has notes of brown sugar and black cherry. The medium has notes of chocolate and sweet citrus.
Great Coffee for an Even Better Cause
While some products that travel internationally to countries like the U.S. donate a portion to charity, the Moses Project does not keep any of the profits. Tasty, single-origin Honduran coffee can be shipped from Memphis to your home. Better yet, taking a step off your to-do list, it can arrive at your door at regular intervals. Each morning, you’ll know that you’ve started your day by supporting a great cause—one with superior flavor, too. Subida takes pride in its ability to bring people together through tasty, well-crafted coffee and in doing great work.