Seis Cielo started as a collective of full time coffee drinking addicts who shared values of environmental conservation, respect for the earth and people of their adoptive home.
Seis Cielo is named after the Mayan princess “Seis Cielo” whose bravery conquered Kingdoms and as a ruler she reconnected the spiritual nature of her people back into the Mayan way of life. Similar to the Mayan princess, at Seis Cielo our goal is simple:
We aim to connect a community of first class Honduran coffee farmers to discerning coffee roasters and enthusiasts.
Living and working within rural Honduran communities for over a decade, founder Sara Turner created a strong appreciation for the everyday struggles facing rural farmers and their communities.
Leaving Canada at the age of 21 after University, Sara moved to Honduras to join both her brother and father not knowing her life would change so drastically. She was part in a team that championed many environmental conservation efforts including identifying new orchid species for Honduras, and capturing the first recorded Ocelot predation on camera. Their primary focus was on rain basin protection in particular ensuring that the rivers the hydro project and communities depended on kept forest cover and limited erosion and pollution.
In 2012 however, Sara started working on a three year partnership project with the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN) where they identified areas of risk in rain basins and focused on changing farming practices through targeted training and education. This project is what led to Sara’s first relationships with coffee farmers in Honduras. One of their goals was to plant 50,000 native tree species within coffee plantations annually, switching practices from sun to shade, implementing more organic methods and specifically moving the wash stations out of the river ecosystems. Her fascination with coffee plantations, the coffee growers and sustainable farming grew dramatically.
This experience ultimately crew Sara’s desire to create a coffee company that was built not on exploitation but on creating truly sustainable relationships between growers and consumers. In 2016 close friends of Sara’s, Carol and Phil Stevens (a British couple living in Honduras for over 20 years), provided the financial support to make the coffee venture a reality.
This is how Seis Cielo Coffee was born.
For Seis Cielo, our first goal was to figure out how to create a sustainable product.
We knew that without top quality and unique characteristics we would be investing in more challenges and so we set out to find the best coffee beans available.
We started our coffee work – learning how to cup and select green coffee beans through training with CAFETANO in Honduras.
We also went to the experts at IHCAFE where we were put in touch directly with the top producers in Honduras, specifically those who were finalists in the 2017 COE ™.
We started our touring and visiting coffee plantations in early 2017, but really fell in love with Las Delicias and in particular, The Ramirez family from Finca El Laurel.
We started negotiating with Daniel Sr. who had just won and broke all the existing COE records a few months earlier. Since then his mostly unknown farm had been toured by some of the best known shops from Japan and Taiwan – aside from those international experts, we showed up.
In Honduras there is a saying: “If you give the hand to someone, watch out because they will try to take your elbow”.
We were warned by all our contacts to be smart and negotiate accordingly but wanted to take a different approach and be honest about our intentions and willingness to pay higher prices. We feel our openness has paid off, the entire process working with the producers of Las Delicas has been awesome and the coffee sampling, handling and packing was a great team effort.
Sharing the results of all the cupping scores together and figuring out what each producer was doing differently and what was working and what wasn’t will hopefully improve the 2019 harvest and continue to create a lasting relationship between Seis Cielo Coffee and Las Delicias Community.