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Catracha Coffee Company

Honduran coffee is a family business from start to finish.

From the tender age of five, Mayra Orellana-Powell drank sweetened coffee as a treat.

Raised by her grandparents in the small town of Santa Elena in Honduras, Orellana-Powell is either related to or friends with all the small farmers who are now the providers of the coffee beans that Catracha Coffee Company imports, roasts and sells.

Orellana-Powell started her company to showcase Honduran coffee, which she feels is under-appreciated in the coffee-drinking world, and to make a difference in the economic well-being of her home town.

A resident of Alameda since 2006, Orellana-Powell lives with her husband and sons on the East End of the Island.

When did you start the Catracha Coffee Company? Officially, the summer of 2010. We started with 500 pounds of green coffee beans to see if it was worth doing. This year, we imported 9,000 pounds.

What does “catracha” mean? It’s a nickname for Hondurans. If you’re from Honduras, you are catracha if you’re a woman, and catracho if you are a man.

What type of coffee do you sell? Our coffee is shade-grown and single source — all from the same region in Honduras. The beans are grown at high elevation. I work with a local roaster in Oakland, RoastCo, who is willing to do small batches. Our beans are medium roast so the real coffee flavor comes through. Our coffee has a very bright taste. It’s chocolate-y and has some fruity overtones.

How long has your family cultivated coffee? My family in Honduras has grown coffee for generations, as far back as my great-grandparents.

Where can people buy Catracha Coffee? The beans are available through our website. RoastCo also carries our beans and sells them through Whole Foods.

How much does it cost? Right now, for the holiday season, we are offering one pound of roasted beans for $10 plus shipping and handling. If you live in Alameda, we can make arrangements to drop it off at your house. I’m always biking around the island.

Philip Kaake December 12, 2011 at 10:47 PM
$10 a pound and delivered! Worth a try.
Jeff Mark December 13, 2011 at 03:18 AM
I agree (and I think I will), although Joan's question is worth asking. There's nothing immediately apparent on the web site that addresses that specifically, although it sure sounds like a "traditional" growing environment. Whether that would qualify it as "organic" may depend on how narrowly one defines the word — which has several definitions, depending on the context, in any case. So, it might be "organic enough", but since it's Honduras, not certifiable under California law, so they can't use the word. Ditto for "Fair Trade".
Cecelia Leong December 13, 2011 at 04:49 AM
According to Mayra, the coffee is not certified organic but most of the farmers do not use chemicals on the crops. Thanks for asking.
Kristen Hipol December 13, 2011 at 06:49 PM
If you ever wanted to roast your own, Mayra will sell you green beans. You can roast coffee in your oven or a hot air popcorn popper!
Ronald Reagan December 13, 2011 at 08:36 PM
The term 'Catracho' is derived from the phrase "Vien los xatruchos" which means, Here come Xatruch's boys. In the 19th century the Hondurans came to help defeat the United States Military freebooter, General Walker, and his mercenaries who had taken over Nicaragua. The name Xatruch, because of it's pronunciation was changed to 'Catracho' and given to the Hondurans for kicking the thugs from the U.S. out of Central America. Recently the name was doned by the Honduran soccer team in the last World Cup.

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