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News Report of Camara de Comercio de Medellín

Honesto Café, a specialty coffee company that ensures quality throughout the entire process.


  • It has two stores, delivers nationwide, and offers special coffees from coffee plantations, three of which belong to the Program for Coffee Specialty (PEC in Spanish).
  • It emerged six years ago with a strategy of fair prices for coffee farmer agro-entrepreneurs.
  • Its brand philosophy aims to honor producers of special coffees and deliver a product of superior quality to the consumer.

Its name says it all: Honesto... which is decent, correct, fair, and that is precisely the essence of the company, as Nicolás Penagos, its creator, explains: "Our vision is to be the company of special coffees that connects the producer with the national and international buyer to offer them the best special coffees available in Colombia, always seeking to pay the producer a fair price in line with the quality of the coffee they produce and guarantee the buyer a certified product that meets their expectations."

Honesto Coffee developed a business model in collaboration with companies specializing in supplier management, purchases, and brand design, as central themes for business expansion. Their experience, after several years in the market, brought them closer to agro-entrepreneurs of the Program for Coffee Specialty - PEC. Therefore, they now maintain commercial and advisory relationships with Finca El Escobero located in Caicedo, La Esperanza, in the municipality of Santa Bárbara, and La Falda, in Urrao, all three belonging to the Program.

Quality guaranteed from the farm to the cup

For Nicolás Penagos, international negotiator from EAFIT and Marketing specialist from the same university, "Honesto is a dream that continues to come true," and he maintains that he always had the idea of being an entrepreneur in mind. He participated in various ventures and entered this industry through a person working for a coffee multinational in the United States, who motivated him to understand and enter the business and accompanied him during the company's first years.

Today, Nicolás affirms, "Our plus is to ensure the quality of the coffee production process from the coffee plantations until it reaches the final consumer; this includes drying, roasting, grinding, packaging... our intention is to take care of the special quality of origin coffee, contribute to its diffusion, knowledge, and highlight the variety of special coffees produced in the country."

The company sends its product to different cities in Colombia, with Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, Montería, Bucaramanga, and Cartagena as main axes. On the other hand, two years ago, they began to venture into the export market, a business they describe as more complex and challenging due to the logistics, laws, and agreements of the international market. However, they claim, "...we have managed to open markets in some cities in Canada, China, and the United States."

Café Blend Finca El Escobero

Agro-business connections to promote future entrepreneurship

With a strategy emphasizing the importance of collaborating in association with agro-entrepreneurs, Honesto Coffee forms long-term relationships with them, with the ability to negotiate and achieve recognition and differentiation in the coffee market. Such is the case of Finca El Escobero, whose owner, Campo Elías, has been part of the PEC since 2018 and now commercializes his product with Honesto. "The coffee plantation," Campo Elías tells us, "has 2 hectares planted with coffee, is located at an altitude of 2,000 meters above sea level, in the Vereda Asesí, 10 minutes from the municipal center of Caicedo, Antioquia... the land was the family inheritance that my father left, and by essence and in consensus with the entire family, we continue to produce coffee, making this profession an art and adopting it as our lifestyle."

At just 31 years old, Campo Elías has become an entrepreneur on his own, based on research and the development of his knowledge. Despite being a man of few words, he expresses himself with authority: "The type of coffee I produce is Colombia red, a fruity variety of coffee with a very good balance." In this process, he tells us that "...the PEC has been a great opportunity to improve the quality of life for my family. I have learned that coffee is not just about staying in the farm work, on the land, but that it involves multiple activities that lead me to develop a different coffee with added values. Additionally, I have improved my harvesting methods, the pulping process, and drying."

Agro-business connections

The relationship between Honesto and Campo Elías arose from a tasting and commercial auction scheduled by the PEC in Santa Fe de Antioquia and postponed due to the pandemic; an event that took place later virtually, and where El Escobero's production was acquired by Honesto Coffee. From this, a mutual support agreement was created that arose through the Cluster Café, an initiative that seeks to bring small coffee growers together with entrepreneurs to enter the specialty coffee market and allow small producers to open niches in the national and international markets.

Regarding the work with Finca El Escobero, Penagos refers: "Campo Elías is a good example of the mission we have in Honesto: we support the small specialty coffee producer, contribute from the brand and its commercialization, pay a fair price for their product, and help improve the benefit of coffee on the ground and throughout its process."

"Finally," Campo Elías states, "having this opportunity for support through Honesto Coffee is helping me with the growth process of my agribusiness, with the investment in updating tools and improving existing ones, so that the process of my specialty coffee can be sustained and continue creating quality products. This fills me with happiness and passion to move forward."

Nicolás Penagos, tireless dreamer

"At Honesto Coffee, we believe in the potential that special coffees have in the national and international market. Society is increasingly learning to consume the best quality coffees. We recommend to producers of special coffees that they stand firm in their purpose of continuing to produce and differentiate their coffee more and more, and that our commitment is to seek and develop markets for them so that they receive fair compensation, the best price, for the coffee they produce."

About the PEC

This program is part of the "Alianza por el Café de Antioquia," integrated by the Comité de Cafeteros de Antioquia, the Cluster Café, led by the Cámara de Comercio de Medellín para Antioquia, Comfama, ISA INTERCOLOMBIA, SENA, the Cooperativas de Caficultores de Andes, Antioquia, Occidente y Salgar, and private companies participating in local and global value-added markets, allowing the distribution of profits to be distributed equitably throughout the chain.

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