Imagine growing up on a farm in the Honduran countryside. The smells, sights, and tastes of the harvest are becoming memories with every passing year, and without even realizing it, you fall in love with the beauty of the land itself.

Now that you’re an adult, you want to continue this rich, agricultural tradition and create a legacy of your own. You study hard in school, you graduate, and you buy a plot of land from your father. Everything is coming into place! The stage is set for you to pursue your calling.

Except… you’re a woman. So things aren’t that easy for you. The reality is that even after you convinced your dad to let you experiment with your own parcel of land, more than half of the farmhands quit when they found out their bossman is a boss-woman. All you are left with is a small team of people and a dream.

Katia Duke is the dreamer in this story. She grew up on her family’s conventional coffee farm and when she started learning about specialty coffee in school, she quickly realized that their farm had so much untapped potential. All it needed was a farmer dedicated enough to take it to the next level, converting its the crops into something quality enough to be sold on the speciality coffee market.

By controlling every step in production, like how the plants were grown, when the cherries were picked, and how meticulously the beans were sorted, she believed her coffee wouldn’t just be better… it would be competition-worthy.

When two of us traveled to Finca San Isidro in March, we were blown away by how much care and attention went into the coffee we source from Katia’s parcel. Over the past several years, she has completely revolutionized the production practices used for the coffee plants in her care. In doing so, she’s transforming her parcel from “conventional” crops into ones that are competing alongside some of the best coffee in the world in the Alliance For Coffee Excellence’s “Cup of Excellence” – the most prestigious competition and award for high-quality coffee.

Katia’s coffee is really, really good, and it’s no coincidence that she is able to sell it for a lot more than it was worth before. Since making the switch to specialty coffee, a lot has changed for her farm and for her community.

Katia employs many women from her community, which is a really big deal.

Since specialty coffee needs more time and care to cultivate, workers earn wages for 2 months longer than those working for conventional coffee farms.

Workers on Katia’s parcel earn significantly more than what they did before.

Women are empowered through honest, consistent employment on the farm.

Children are going to school in Katia’s community because of the school built on Finca San Isidro.

To incentivize school attendance, we’re partnering with Katia and SonLight Power to build a community kitchen that will feeds kids nutritional, balanced meals and snacks.

At the end of the day, we can see firsthand that specialty coffee changes lives. We’re honored to know Katia and have such a caring, enthusiastic member of the La Terza family as a supplier for our specialty beans. It is not only her coffee that upholds our relationship, but the replenishing gift that Finca San Isidro gives to its surrounding community. We see Katia’s legacy touching us and many others for generations to come.

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