CONEXH Mario Mejia

Mario Mejia


A World that Encourages Innovation

Mario Mejia grew up playing on drying patios and chasing his brothers through coffee trees. In La Paz, Honduras, where the cool mountain temperatures and steep slopes provide the perfect environment for cultivating coffee, the Mejia family has been dedicated to their land in Montecillos Sierra for four generations. A 16 hectare farm when it was inherited by his father, Finca El Jardin’s current 52 hectares are now managed by the youngest Mejia, Mario.

Mario always knew he would continue the work his family taught him but he is part of a generation looking to give Honduras a new name in the specialty coffee industry. The future he imagines is one where Honduran coffee earns its own spot on a shelf, rather than being blended away. Inspired by bold and innovative Honduran farmers like Benjamin Paz, Mario chases higher quality every year. And not only for himself. Mario also is creating a network of neighboring farms who he can work with and share his knowledge to collectively lift the name of Honduran coffee.

“What I like most about coffee is that it is an infinite world. You can meet new people, make new friends, there are always new varieties to discover,”

“The more you spend time with coffee, the more you notice new things. It is a world where you have to be innovating.”

A new view of the future

Coffee is the top agriculture export for Honduras. More than 100,000 Honduran families depend on it as their main source of income, so not only is it vital to the Honduran economy as a whole, but as Mario describes, it is integral to community life as a generational tradition which is linked to identity. For him, coffee was always the path.

For many years the Mejia family was dedicated to the typical Honduran coffee. Sweet and nutty washed coffees with a full body, and low acidity ranging from 80 to 82 points. Varieties on Finca El Jardin include some of the most commonly cultivated varieties in the region like Bourbon, Catuai, Caturra, IHCAFE 90, and Lempira.

This reputation for lower-quality “blenders” and low prices have prevented Honduran farmers from being able to invest in improving quality and accessing markets. One particular issue that has led Honduras to this point is drying.  Unfortunately, due to high levels of rainfall and lack of space many producers dry coffee too quickly which can which can cause instability in moisture content and quality issues or end up relying on mechanical driers.

After graduating from the National University of Agriculture in 2019, Mario Mejia had a new perspective on the future of coffee in Honduras.

“We began to see that there was a different world of coffee. It was not the same conventional production that we knew. We began to travel, to visit farms…It was a radical change in my way of thinking.”

For many roasters or drinkers, naturals and honeys are not radical, but for a community that has always produced washed coffees, there was initial skepitsicm and concern over risk and potential loss. Will our existing buyers be interested or would we need to find a new market ourselves? What if it doesn’t taste good and it has to be sold for an extra price?

But for Mario this wasn’t only a matter of the potential of the coffee quiality, it was about the potential of his neighbours, their families and livelihoods.

Saying, “It also really motivated me seeing the conditions in which coffee growers in our region have been living, and to look for an option of how I can help my community to generate better income through coffee.”

Mario was determined to overcome doubts, and strive to ensure that Honduran coffee is not just seen as a commodity but as a valued product with a story and quality behind it.

So starting small, with only 5 hectares and the existing trees there, the family began transitioning to specialty production.


In 2021 CONEXH, their very own exporting company, was established with the mission of elevating Honduran coffee quality and market presence. Along with the family farms, they formed a local farmers group called “Los Compaz” to support others’ transitions to specialty production and strengthen their network of supply.

Looking ahead, Mario has ambitious goals for Finca El Jardin. He aims to continue improving the quality of their coffee, focusing on planting new, high-quality varieties and experimenting with innovative processing methods. In the short term, he plans to develop a line of fine coffees, scoring 88 points and above, to cater to the high-end market. Concurrently, they will maintain a commercial line to support local farmers and ensure the economic stability of their community.

“Many of the people who were working on the farm before the transition are still working for our farm today. They have been employed for many years. They have seen the growth of the farm. The changes we have made, all the improvements that have been made for them and for us as farmers.”

With the growth of the farm into the 52 hectares it is, now fully committed to specialty, not only have wages of workers on the farm increased, but there is more work year round. This means instead of relying on finding seasonal migrant workers every year, Finca El Jardin can fully focus on local employment and community development.

Mario’s vision extends beyond personal and family success. He is deeply committed to uplifting the local coffee-growing community. By sharing knowledge and best practices, he aims to empower other smallholders in the region to improve their production and achieve fair market access.

“The Honduran industry is very hard. It is very hard for small farmers to access a fair market. So one of the objectives of my project is to reach that – to be able to provide other producers with fair prices.”

This is demonstrated through Los Compaz but also through CONEXH’s work developing an English program at the local school in San Pedro de Tututle.

Recognizing the importance of English proficiency for global communication, he is working to ensure that children in his community have access to quality education. This initiative is not only about enhancing their future prospects but also about connecting the community with the broader world through coffee.

“As a coffee grower, English is an essential tool to be able to connect with the world. There is a great deficit of this in our community.”


Finca El Jardin is a wonderful representation of what the future of Honduras will look like and the type of dedication needed to reach that. Balancing tradition with a critical look at the world of specialty, we can see that the Mejia family will be successful in their to mission to give Honduras a new reputation.