Juan Manuel Villeda Finca Cerro Azul Copan, Honduras | OBIIS

Category: One BIGG Island in Space

1600M above sea level, in a lush, tropical forest, Juan Manuel Villeda is making his stand. A third-generation coffee producer, he spends every moment he can working his three Manzana (roughly three acre) coffee field planted up the steep slopes of the mountain. He is chasing quality, not quantity. A batch of his 2021 crop scored a Q-Grade of 88, which makes it as rare and as valuable as, say, Waygu Beef on a steak house menu.


Compared to many of his coffee farming neighbors, he is lucky. He both knows and understands the quality of the coffee he is producing, and he has been able to secure a buyer for his best beans. Although “lucky” is a funny way to describe a journey that has been defined by countless hours of hard work, and an entrepreneurial leap of faith that he would be able to find a buyer that would pay him a fair price.


It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He wasn’t supposed to be in coffee at all.

Juan Manuel

Better for the Next Generation


His grandfather had bought the land in the remote, mountainous region of Copan at the beginning of the 1970s. In those early days of the farm, his grandfather struggled with the challenging terrain and the vagaries of the coffee market. It took him more than 20 years to build a thriving coffee farm, which he left to Juan’s father, and his father’s siblings, in the 1990s.


It was a booming time to be a coffee grower, and his father’s farm rode the wave of relative prosperity. In spite of the fact that his dad never received more than a 6th grade education, he was able to ensure that Juan and his three siblings all received advanced degrees from the best Universities.


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