A Few Questions With... Benjamin Paz

“A Few Questions With…” is a series featuring some of Ally’s partners across the globe. Our goal is to get to know the people who make coffee happen a little better, to talk about their work, and to look forward toward their vision of where coffee is headed. We’re thankful for these relationships that we get to be a part of, and excited to have the opportunity to let these folks tell you about themselves in their own words.
The following responses have been edited for clarity.

Benjamin Paz is a coffee producer and exporter from Santa Barbara, Honduras. His family's exporting company, Exportadora San Vicente, is world-recognized for the high quality coffee it sources, and his eight farms—including La Salsa, La Leona, La Orquidea, and others—have earned him a reputation as a producer of the highest caliber through accolades like winning the 2022 Honduras Cup of Excellence. Our relationship with Benjamin began in 2019, and we’re proud to continue working with him to bring Honduran coffees to roasters around the world.

Two Honduran men, one older in a blue button up and one younger in a black t shirt and baseball cap, with raised beds of drying coffeeBenjamin Paz (right) with Pedro Sagastume (left) in the drying area of the Sagastume family farm and mill

Ally: How long have you been producing/sourcing coffee?
Benjamin: I started growing my own coffee in 2012. I started working for San Vicente as a permanent employee in 2008. Before that, I was only working in coffee during holidays or vacations because I was in school.

Ally: Where does your farm/mill name come from?
B: The name of the mill comes from the village where my dad was born: San Vicente de La Nieve. It is a small coffee village in the north side of the Santa Barbara mountain.

The farm have different names for different reasons, mostly because of their locations or the type of plants and trees that are in the properties.

A: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
B: I normally don’t have tons of time, but I like to play futbol and go fishing when I can.

A: What’s your favorite food to have with coffee?
B: Baleadas. The best Honduran dish.

A lush green landscape of high forested hills against a cloudy skyThe hills of Santa Barbara, Benjamin's home department in Honduras where he produces and sources coffee

A: What does coffee mean to you?
B: Coffee is my life, coffee is everything for me. I was born in it, I grew up in it, and I hope my kids work in it. Both of my families have worked in coffee. It is a patrimony for us.

A: How has your work as a producer and exporter changed as a result of your relationship with importers and roasters??
B: Building solid relationships with our customers has been key for our business. For us, our relationships have helped us grow and build a strong network. Our customers have opened opportunities in the market, by representing our coffees and presenting them to the world. We have been able to grow in all different ways and different markets because of their investment.

A neat stack of bags of coffee in a warehouse

Bags of coffee in the Exportadora San Vicente warehouse

A: What has changed in your perspective as a coffee grower and exporter over the past five or ten years?
B: I think I have learned to appreciate more the value of the human part in the coffee supply chain. The participation of the producers, baristas, exporters, traders, pickers, is equally important in all the stages. We make the coffee happen. Our roles are key and we should support each other more and more. Relationships are the key for this.

A: What is one message you’d like to share with the coffee community?
B: I’d like to share my gratitude to the coffee community, for working hard everyday for a better industry and better opportunities for everyone, especially for the producers.

A Honduran man in a black t-shirt with white graphic and a baseball capBenjamin Paz

A: What do you hope to see for the future of your farm?
B: I just hope the quality to stay high, maintain the sustainability of the operation, and find new markets so I can get opportunities for everyone working with me, my co-workers, and also other coffee producers. My plan is to continue improving and staying competitive.

A: What do you hope to see for the future of coffee more broadly?
B: I hope for better and more fair opportunities for everyone, prioritizing the producers. I hope consumers value coffee as not only a drink; I hope they acknowledge the importance of coffee as a patrimony for the world, as it is the livelihood of millions of people.

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