Three months after he started first grade, Idelfonso Nieto had to drop out of school due to his father’s death. Life itself would teach him to read and write, but his efforts and passion for coffee would lead to his being “crowned” as an “engineer”. In 2021, he won third place in the “El Paraíso Origin” Specialty Coffee Competition. In his micro lot, he harvests 100kg of the Parainema variety, cultivated in the Buenos Aires community, Trojes Municipality, at a height of 1,250 meters above sea level. His coffee received a score of 86.17 on the SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) scale and is thus considered as a specialty coffee.

I sold the coffee from this lot at 0,47 USD per kg, and my winning coffee was sold at 1,14 USD/kg. The solar dryer helped me to prepare the winning micro-lot,” stated Idelfonso, who placed third in the “El Paraíso Origin” Specialty Coffee Competition in 2021.

He worked as a day labourer until he was able to buy his farm, which he manages easily at 74 years of age. “I have always liked having my own coffee plot, although we never had any help. We do what we can,” noted Idelfonso. This love for coffee that began in 1980 was put to the test numerous times. “In 1995, coffee was not profitable. People gave up on it, but I always stuck to it. Later, when coffee rust affected the crops, many lost hope but I planted more seedlings to continue. I like to drink it and grow it. Over the years, I have increased the plantation fivefold,” he added.

“I lived through the mudslides caused by Hurricane Iota. It was terrible, and you could hear the pounding of the water. The harvest came in at 35% less than the previous year. The strong winds affected the coffee, and knocked over the plantain stalks,” stated Idelfonso Nieto.

Thanks to coffee, Idelfonso has a house, and one wall of it is lined with the professional certifications. Although 109 farmers took part in the competition, Idelfonso’s skills as a coffee producer were on full display. “I also dreamed of winning a competition. I participated in two previously. When they said my name, I was over the moon, very happy. I called one of my sons on the phone and he wouldn’t believe me.” Before, he accepted the prices he was offered, but now he received an offer for his next crop from Café Nativo, which roasts and sells specialty coffees. The income he received partially offset the losses from Hurricanes Eta and Iota. His coffee is part of a special edition of El Paraíso coffee that is being promoted.

A competitive, inclusive and sustainable development project for coffee and high-quality aromatic cacao chains in the El Paraíso Department, and for cashews in the Choluteca and Valle Departments of Honduras.