Coffee From Honduras

Coffee From Honduras. All There is to Know about this Unique Coffee

If you’ve been exploring the world of the best coffee beans you must have come across a little country called Honduras. Coffee from Honduras is steeped in history. And yes, it’s a coffee worth adding to your list of coffee brews to sample.

What makes Honduran coffee unique? Its growing conditions, for one. The processing method enhances the coffee’s special flavors. Speaking of flavors – different regions produce different flavors.

Honduras is not the biggest exporter of coffee by any means. But their production of coffee beans is a hit with many coffee drinkers around the world. Let’s discover why you should be drinking Honduran coffee.


Why Coffee From Honduras?

A country located in Central America; Honduras is rich in natural resources. Its main economy is agricultural. Besides coffee, Honduras grows sugar cane and tropical fruit. Its growing textiles industry can be found on the international market. Coffee production supports over 120,000 families in the country.

Every country producing coffee has something special which makes their brew stand out. If you’re a coffee aficionado, it would simply be amiss to not give the coffee from Honduras a taste. Sampling the coffee flavors of the world is what makes your coffee drinking experience exciting. Why else would you want to drink coffee from Honduras?

 

Coffee From Honduras

 

9 Interesting Facts About Honduran Coffee

Honduran coffee has a fascinating history. But there’s much more to know about this country and its coffee:

  • Better than Moka coffee: Coffee has been grown in Honduras since colonial times. In the 1800s it was considered just as good, if not better, than its cousins in Moka (now known as Mauritius) and Java (Indonesia).
  • 3rd largest coffee grower: During harvesting season over 1 million people are employed to help on the coffee farms.
  • Small-and large-scale farms: Both large coffee estates and small-scale farmers contribute to the coffee production. Traditional methods work alongside some of the more modern, innovative farming techniques.
  • DO seal for specialty coffee: The region of Marcala markets their coffee using the “designation of origin” to promote their specialty brand. Specific geographic characteristics lend to a unique blend of coffee from this region.
  • 12th September 1799: This was the first-time coffee was recorded in Honduras. Port records show 3 barrels of coffee arriving from Havana, Cuba, on this date.
  • Local consumption: Up to 90% of the coffee produced in Honduras is consumed locally. With challenges in exporting their coffee efficiently, the product is enjoyed domestically more than anything else.
  • Six million bags: Despite the export challenges, Honduras still exports over 6 million bags of coffee annually.
  • Natural disasters: Hurricanes and the pesky leaf rust called roya are calamities many coffee growers battle with in Honduras.
  • Soil quality: Coffee plants thrive in the rich volcanic soils found in the regions where coffee is grown.

 

Regions and Flavors

What makes each country’s coffee bean unique is dependent on the soil, altitude and fertility. Fertile soil combined with volcanic ash, clay and limestone gives higher yield. It also helps the plant to fight against diseases. This is important for Arabica beans as their plant is prone to leaf rust.

The nutrients found in the soil play a vital role in the plant’s health and its flavor. The right altitude, especially higher altitudes, allow the plant to absorb and metabolize the soil’s nutrients. This produces a healthier bean with higher sugar content.

Honduran coffee beans produce a light, fruity, sweet coffee brew. They’re grown in six regions throughout the country. It’s interesting to note the range of flavors based on the region the bean is grown.

Copan Region

A cool area which experiences humidity and temperature variability throughout the year. The coffee beans produced in this region are known for their sweet, aromatic scent. It’s a full-bodied coffee.

El Paraiso Region

An award-winning coffee bean, this coffee is grown between 3,200 and 4,500 feet above sea level. It’s famous for its citrusy flavor and a smooth, creamy finish.

Agalta Region

This region is found at altitudes between 3,600 and 4,500 feet. A more tropical climate, it produces coffee that’s fruity with a chocolaty aroma.

Opalaca Region

Found on the eastern side of the Copan region, this area has a slightly higher altitude. It produces flavors that are tropical. It’s presents with medium acidity.

Montecillos Region

The origin of the famous Café de Marcala coffee, this region’s colder nights contributes to the unique flavors. With a hint of acidity, the velvety body offers every coffee drinker a smooth finish. Flavors can be citrusy to caramel, tending to be on the sweeter side.

Comayagua Region

Being Honduras’s central coffee- producing region, the coffee bean of this area had the highest yield in 2016. Its tantalizing citrus flavor is mingled with hints of sweetness. Its bold, creamy body simply makes this coffee a pleasure to drink any time.

 

Coffee From Honduras

Coffee plantation near Yojoa lake, Honduras

 

It’s All in the Processing: Washed Coffee Beans

Harvesting seasons range from December to April, depending on the region. When the fruits have been harvested, they are wet-washed as soon as possible. This prevents the beans from drying out. But what exactly does it mean when coffee is wet-washed?

Coffee processing is used to get to the seed in the fruit of the coffee. The seed is protected by several layers of flesh. Wet-washing is a laborious process using a lot of water. But once the flesh has been removed, the seed is still moist. This has an impact on the flavor and finish of your coffee brew.

If the washing process is done properly, you’ll be guaranteed pure flavor of the bean. Other methods of processing give you flavor of both the seed and some of its flesh. So, coffee connoisseurs want to drink coffee with intrinsic flavor – based on its origin, variety and the soil it grew in.

 

 

Which Honduran Coffee for Your Perfect Brew?

Whether you’re a true gourmet or simply love the taste of coffee, finding the perfect Honduran brew is a must.

  • Marcala grown coffee: A coffee most favored by coffee drinkers who like their coffee black or espresso, its sweet aroma hints at flavors blending from lemon to vanilla. Throw in a bit of chocolate and nutty flavor & you’ll have a heavenly brew on hand. Depending on the supplier, medium roast is a good option for this coffee.
  • Copan grown coffee: If you love your coffee with a zesty bite, this is the one for you. The most popular of all Central American coffees, Copan coffee has a fruity, nutty flavor. Hints of honey add to the sweetness of this coffee which is best medium roasted.
  • Monte Vista estate grown coffee: Found in the mountains of Santa Barbara (part of the Copan region), this estate produces high quality coffee beans. Handpicked and small batch roasted adds to the quality of this coffee. Offering a medium-dark roast, this coffee is full-bodied and smooth. The aroma is floral with hints of caramel. The flavor is sweet, toned by notes of chocolate, fruit and caramel.
  • El Cedral grown coffee: Another coffee of the Copan region, the coffee plants are grown at an altitude above 1,500m. Growth at this level means a longer growing period. This produces a mature, flavor-developed coffee fruit. Full-bodied and smooth, the rich & robust taste will leave lingering flavors of nuts & dark chocolate.

Make sure your Honduran coffee is of single origin and if possible, part of the fair-trade deal. Many farmers are going the organic route which makes for more sustainable farming practices. And because coffee from Honduras are Arabica beans, you can be sure your coffee will not taste rancid or bitter.

What’s the Deal with Organic Honduran Coffee?

If you’re an eco-conscious kind of person, sourcing organic Honduran coffee can only enhance your coffee brewing experience. When the word “organic” is being used, it covers the following:

  • It’s been certified organic
  • The method of harvesting is handpicking
  • Its Rainforest Alliance registered

The growing and harvesting methods determine the organic status of a coffee product. It should be grown without any artificial chemical substances. Herbicides and pesticides are not permitted unless made with natural products. Fertilizers must also be 100% natural.

 

Coffee From Honduras

 

The land on which the coffee plant is being grown must be free of any synthesized pesticides for over 3 years prior to farming. The area must also be an acceptable distance from any farming areas using synthesized products.

A sustainable crop rotation plan must be followed. This allows for the soil to regenerate and to prevent any erosion from taking place.

How do you know if you’re getting the real deal when buying organic? Many suppliers are mixing organic coffee with non-organic coffee to reduce the price. Don’t believe in the 100% organic label until you’ve seen the certificates. Organic coffee is premium-priced but you’re paying for sustainability and fair trade. And, uncompromised quality in flavor and finish.

Brew Your Perfect Cup of Honduras Coffee

Now you know all about Honduran coffee and the story behind it, it’s time to brew your perfect cup of coffee. Everyone has their personal brewing preferences, whether it’s the Moka pot, espresso machine or pour-over. What we all agree on is the quality and freshness of the coffee bean. Your choice could be ground or whole bean. And let’s not forget the roast – light, medium or dark roast.

If you’re buying in whole bean (and the Marcala organic whole bean is renowned for its high quality and flavor), be sure to store it correctly. Measure out the right quantity and grind just before making your pot of coffee.

Use good, filtered water. Don’t buy cheap filters if you’re going the pour-over route. The heat of your water mustn’t be too hot or else you’ll end up with bitter coffee. Coffee connoisseurs let boiled water sit for five minutes before pouring it over their coffee. Another five minutes is added to the brewing time before it’s poured into your cup.

Every coffee gourmet agrees routine and time is essential for the perfect mug of coffee. Enjoy the aromas while you’re grinding your coffee beans. Sit idly and let your mind wonder while your coffee is brewing to perfection. Savor every moment while you sip your full-bodied, smooth brew full of tantalizing flavors.


Why Not Plan a Visit to a Honduran Coffee Estate?

Do something a little different next time you plan a holiday (and once international travel is open again for safe travel). Book a trip to Honduras and stay at one of the beautiful coffee farm estates. Many of them offer lodging facilities. Most of them are located within the Copan region.

If you go during the harvesting season (anytime between December and March), you’ll get up close with the picking and processing production. You won’t run short of coffee either when you stay on one of these estates.

If your traveling partner is not into coffee so much, they’ll enjoy the trails and birdwatching offered on most of these estates. You could wonder into the nearby town for a daily excursion. With the large number of coffee shops around, you won’t need to worry about missing your daily coffee fix either!

Final Thoughts

Coffee from Honduras has a fascinating history. For a small country facing many social and economic challenges, its coffee production plays an important role. In the world of coffee, Honduran coffee is popular for its mild acidity and sweet flavors.

The wet-processing method is favored by many coffee drinkers and baristas alike. Traditional farming methods going back over centuries mingle with modern coffee growing techniques. Either way, high-quality coffee fruit is what every coffee farmer in Honduras strives for.

In later years, organic certification has helped to protect the small-scale farmers and give them an edge in an otherwise competitive market. For many coffee drinkers, the Marcala region produces one of the best coffee brews. But each region has its own uniqueness. Coffee from Honduras is simply a coffee you need to drink at least once in your life.