Latest Posts

  1. Papua New Guinea

    Papua New Guinea

    Papua New Guinea is often lumped in with Indonesian coffees. But it is distinct in nearly every way.

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  2. Flores

    Flores

    Flores is small by island standards, just about 360 kilometers end to end. It is in the Indonesian archipelago, between Sumbawa and Timor islands.

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  3. Costa Rica

    Costa Rica

    If there is a problem with Costa Rica coffee, it's the fact that it can lack distinction; it is straightforward, clean, softly acidic, mild.

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  4. Dominican Republic

    Dominican Republic

    Good news, Sammy Sosa ...the Dominican produces more than mild cigars. It has a tradition of coffee production that dates back several centuries now.

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  5. Mexico

    Mexico

    Mexican coffee originates from South-central to Southern regions of the country.

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  6. Uganda

    Uganda

    he variety of wild Robusta coffee still growing today in Uganda's rain forests are thought to be some of the rarest examples of naturally occurring coffee trees anywhere in the world.

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  7. Nicaragua

    Nicaragua

    Nicaraguan coffees have a wide range of flavor attributes. Some cup like Mexican coffees from Oaxaca, others have a more pronounced acidity.

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  8. El Salvador

    El Salvador

    El Salvador coffee had a poor reputation for years, marred mostly by the inability to deliver coffee of high quality within an unstable social climate.

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  9. Panama

    Panama

    Coffee from Panama was once overlooked and under-rated, but not any longer.

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  10. Ethiopia

    Ethiopia

    Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee: it is in the forests of the Kaffa region that Coffea Arabica grew wild.

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  11. Decaf

    Decaf

    Green coffee is decaffeinated before roasting. This process changes the color of the green coffee: it varies from light brown (Natural and CO-2) to green-brown (MC and Swiss Water Process -SWP- decafs).

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  12. Australia

    Australia

    Okay, it is a continent and an island. But how do you classify Australian coffee?

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Honduras

Honduras

Honduras coffee quality spans a huge range, from a lower-cost Central American blender coffee, to high-grown lots that rival good Guatemala coffees in acidity and flavor. The areas of Marcala, Copan and Santa Barbara, Ocotopeque and others can produce high quality coffees. And Honduras is one of the few countries with a capacity to grow their production, where as nations like Costa Rica and Panama are experiencing land pressure from other demands, and producing less and less coffee each harvest. Honduran coffees can range from bright, acidic flavor profiles, lightly fruited and with strong cane sugar sweetness, to more caramel-like, lower acidity coffees that are nice in espresso.

For many years there was little talk of Honduran coffee in the specialty coffee market. I participated in some early cupping events, before Cup of Excellence came to this nation, and saw great potentialin cup quality but technical problems in the wet-processing of lots and in drying the coffee. While farmer education has increased greatly in Honduras, the new challenges are plant diseases like Roya, that greatly affect the small farmer who lacks resources to combat this and other fungi.

Honduras has all the environmental factors on its side: soil, altitude, climate, and farmers who are increasingly better trained in agricultural practices. All its neighbors have sophisticated coffee production: Guatemala, El Salvador and, to some degree, Nicaragua. But what has been lacking is quality coffee processing, capital to modernize the dry mills, and a distinct "name" in the consumer market. Honduras has been known mostly as a source for commercial coffee, not specialty grade. It is still a major source for lower-priced arabica coffees headed to large roasting companies. This means that even a high quality Honduran does not always fetch a good price, and in fact many from Copan and Santa Barbara districts are smuggled into Guatemala and sold as such. Without a premium price for quality, the farmer, the mill and the exporter have no incentive to incur the added expense that would help realize the coffee's quality potential. So Honduran coffee ends up as a mild blender and not as a single-origin or farm-specific coffee. It is a vicious cycle.

We have offered lots from the Santa Barbara and Copan areas that rival great Guatemalan coffees, as well as finding great quality in Ocotopeque and the areas in the south, near Nicaragua. A problem in Honduras is proper drying of the coffee after it is wet-processed. Some areas are wet and humid, and the coffees can be ruined when drenched by rain showers. Marcala area in the South has an advantage of a drier climate, although the coffees do not have the soaring brightness of the Northern zones.

We started going to Honduras to look for coffee in 2003 and I was able to judge at the first Honduras Specialty Coffee Competition held in San Pedro Sula. That event was the precursor of the Cup of Excellence competitions, which have been held each year since then, and has helped to uncover high quality coffees in Honduras. My ulterior motive on this trip was to find some truly special Honduran coffees for Sweet Maria's. And I met Chris Schooley there. For our part, we are buying really good coffees and paying way over standard prices.

Honduras, like other countries, is varied, so I can't speak about it as a single entity: coffees from Copan or Santa Barbara or El Paraiso or Ocotepeque are all different. The largest growing region is Santa Barbara, coffees are also grown in Copan, Ocotepeque, Lempira, La Paz and El Paraiso in the South. Coffee grown between 1500 and 2000 meters is given the highest designation of SHG; Strictly High Grown. The overall cup character is less acidic than other Central Americans, with distinct sweet caramel flavors in the cup.

 

For more about Honduras, see my notes from that original 2003 Honduras Specialty Coffee Competition, and later my 2006 Honduras Cup of Excellence trip. I haven't done any travelogues for subsequent trips, nor have I made many visits. It's overdue, and in fact I just returned from a trip through the Southern areas of Honduras this month.

 

Honduras coffee offerings

 

Coffee origin pages