Three honey-processed coffees from the Honduras COMSA Cooperative—two single-farmer lots and one community lot—comprise the Cariño Blend.
Montgomery Melghem’s farm, Finca San Pablo, is located in the town of El Pastal, in western Honduras. Founded by Pablo Melghem in 1915, for over a century Finca San Pablo has kept excellent growing, harvesting and processing techniques as established by its founder. Since its foundation, the farm has been managed by the direct descendants of the founder, Rolando Melghem, father, and Montgomery Melghem, grandson, as the third generation of a family dedicated to the enterprise of coffee growing.
Rodolfo Peñalba’s farm, Finca Clave de Sol, is in Barrio el Rincón, also in Marcala. A third-generation coffee farmer, Peñalba started as a child, helping his father during harvest. He had a dream to become a doctor, but limited resources directed his path to agronomy, which he studied thanks to a scholarship. After graduation, he worked as a technical advisor for large farms for about 15 years, training producers in the usage of conventional farming chemicals.
One day, a farmworker nearly died after accidentally ingesting one of the products, an episode that made Peñalba reflect about alternatives to chemicals for producers and consumers. He then attended a workshop about organic agriculture and decided to stop using chemicals on his farm. Like most who transition into organics, his yields suffered considerably. Over time, however, genetic diversity on the farm and careful processing have resulted in very successful organic yields.“Our farm management is 100% organic, with responsibility and love, in harmony with humanity, the environment and birds,” says Peñalba. “We are immensely proud of this.”
The third component of Cariño blend (which translates to “sweetheart” or “honey”) is a collection of honey-processed coffee from several other smallholder farmers within COMSA.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Cariño Blend, from Higher Grounds Trading Company in Traverse City, Michigan. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: El Pastal, Honduras // Barrio el Rincón, Honduras // (various), Honduras
farm: Finca San Pablo // Finca Clave de Sol // various
producer: Montgomery Melghem // Rodolfo Peñalba // smallholder farmers
association: Honduras COMSA Cooperative
elevation: 1500 – 1700 meters above sea level
cultivars: Bourbon, Typica, Lempira, Icatú
juicy, sweet, raw honey, caramel, peach, apple, refined sugar, angel food cake, vanilla, nectarine, sourdough pretzel, blackberry
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.