Farm to Cup

Nelson Amador, founder of De La Finca coffee importers and Five Star Coffee Roasters in Holly Springs.

Thanks to farm-to-table dining, supporting small farms and artisan food products is now fairly commonplace. It’s not unusual to know where your pork was raised or your asparagus grown before you dive into a fine meal. Five Star Coffee Roasters is making similar strides in the world of coffee, led by founder Nelson Amador’s vision to create a connection between his family’s coffee farms and Holly Springs.

Coffee from the Santa Lucia farm in Honduras, owned by Nelson Amador’s grandfather, is a popular choice.

Amador grew up on his grandfather’s coffee farm in the mountains of Honduras. The farm, called Santa Lucia, encompasses over 90 acres of verdant forest, boasting rich soil, abundant wildlife and high altitude — in short, ideal conditions for growing coffee.

When Amador came to the U.S. to learn English, he immediately noticed the importance of coffee in American culture, witnessing study sessions at cafes and coffee dates between friends.

“He realized, ‘These could be my family’s beans,’” said Ashley Penny, operations manager for Five Star and De La Finca. “He had a vision to connect people with their coffee, and their coffee producers, and where it comes from.”

Amador founded partnering businesses De La Finca coffee importers and Five Star Coffee Roasters in Holly Springs. De La Finca imports green coffee directly from producers, including Amador’s family’s farms, and Five Star roasts and sells the specialty coffees.

“We roast fresh every week,” Penny said. “For the first two weeks after roast, coffee is at its peak of freshness.”

Specialty coffees are the highest tier in the industry, and score 80 or above on the Speciality Coffee Association of America scale, judged for qualities such as body, acidity and sweetness.

Nelson Amador roasts green coffee at Five Star Coffee Roasters in Holly Springs.

“We are actually bringing in coffee that the owner’s family produces, so we have a hand in every single part of the process,” she said.

“One of the big things that we stand behind in both businesses, is that we operate in a direct trade model. We actually work directly with (Amador’s) family and other producers, so we are able to pay the farmers directly.”

Frequently, coffee farmers will sell their harvest locally at origin, so the coffee switches hands several times before reaching a consumer.

“The producer often is left with the smallest amount of margin on their hard work,” Penny said.

“We try to get people interested in what they are actually drinking and how buying from ethically-sourced importers and roasters makes a huge difference at origin.”

Part of this education strategy comes during cupping events held monthly at Five Star’s Roastery on Thomas Mill Road. Cupping is a method used throughout the coffee supply chain for testing quality and consistency. The coffee is roasted, ground, and brewed in small cups.

“When we do the cuppings for Five Star, it is to acquaint the public with the variety and characteristics that can be found in coffee,” Penny said.

Barista Erin Pender also does marketing for Five Star Coffee Roasters.

As a fifth-generation coffee farmer, preserving and growing the Honduran coffee trade is at the forefront of Amador’s mission.

“We want to see Honduran coffee become better known for its quality and what it has to offer. A lot of people think of Brazil and Columbia … as the forefront in coffee, but Honduras has so much to offer in the realm of specialty coffee,” Penny said.

Find Five Star Coffee Roasters coffee at Lowes Foods grocery stores, online and at area farmer’s markets.

Five Star Coffee Roasters
108 Thomas Mill Road, Suite 101, Holly Springs
(919) 671-0645

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