HONESDALE—Local cafe Black & Brass Coffee Roasting Company is embarking on a unique chance to connect the Maple City to the depths of the Honduran rainforest.
Black & Brass barista Jake Martin has been invited to travel to Marcala, Honduras and visit Lanca Farms, the family-owned supplier of the beans used in the cafe's myriad roasts.
Lanca Farms owner Emilio Garcia offered to house the coffee maestro for an enlightening week of behind-the-scenes, coffee-growing experiences.
While there, Martin will have the opportunity tour the facility, learn how the beans are grown, stored, and prepared for shipment
He will also be given the opportunity to participate in a harvest.
Of the experience, Martin stated, “I think it'll educate me more so I can educate customers more.”
He hopes to glean, “... a better knowledge of coffee in general: how coffee's produced and where it comes from and the process that it goes through from...the seed to the cup.”
Martin further stated that, more than just the simple procedural operations of the farm, the experience will allow him to connect on a cultural level to those involved in providing some of the beans that go into making Black & Brass coffee.
The Honduran beans Martin will be harvesting from Lanca Farms can be found in certain light, medium, and French roasts, as well as some blends sold in the shop.
According to Black & Brass owner Travis Rivera, Lanca Farms beans are shade-grown, meaning they dwell along the forest floor in harmony with the surrounding ecology.
“The ecology in the forest is intact. You're not clear-cutting so you can grow it....So you preserve the natural habitat of the region.”
Martin noted this makes these beans harvested organic by default.
Rivera stated that, in the process of sending Martin to the farm, “There's a certain element of quality control, seeing it with your own eyes, seeing that the people are happy and treated fairly.”
Adding to this, Martin noted, “Yea, that's important ... It's a family-owned farm that I'm going to, and that's important for us here to be able to buy that product, to make sure that we're selling our product with the best intentions, but so is the farm we're getting it from.”
The Black & Brass barista mentioned he'll not be the only Wayne Countyian in the forests on his trip.
He noted several species of local bird, including the golden-winged warbler, will be wintering near his locale.
Black & Brass invites its patrons to join Martin on his trek from the comfort of their computers and mobile devices.
While on his trip, the barista plans to document his adventures.
Those interested can keep tabs on his progress and learn along side him via vlogs, pictures and journal entries uploaded to the Black & Brass Facebook and Instagram pages.
“It's gonna be a constant stream of communication,” said Martin.
“I think it's really important as a community that things are introduced into Honesdale like this.”
Speaking of the knowledge he'll acquire on his trip, Martin continued, “And to do this and go learn more about it, I wanna share this with the community. I wanna share what I learned there and bring it back here.”
Customers can also get involved in the journey by making contributions to a travel fund, financing Martin's ticket, wages and general expenditures while on the trip.
Donations can be made at the coffee shop. Those who do so will receive a Black & Brass gift card of matching value to their contribution.
The single greatest contributor will be rewarded with a personalized gift from Honduras.
The number to beat for this special prize at the time of printing is a $55 contribution.
“It's to give people a chance to be a part of it,” said Rivera. “Not everybody can go to Honduras but they can live vicariously through him and they can support him.”
Noting Martin's overall demeanor and customer relations, Rivera stated, “There's some magic there and to give people the opportunity to share in his experience is really what we're offering.”
Would-be donors have until February 27 to contribute. Martin's flight takes to the sky the following day.
Rivera noted Black & Brass is planning to host a going away party for its Honduras-bound barista. Details to come at a later date, so patrons are advised to keep a weather eye for them.
Overall, Martin said he's excited for the adventure and looking forward to the all-new experiences that await.