An Interview with Benjamin Paz

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.