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.