Honduras Unroasted-Coffee Expectations
Honduras is a highland country, located on the Sierra Madre mountain range which crosses Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. In terms of coffee quality, Honduras spans an impressive range. You can find the anonymous lower-cost blender Arabicas there, as well as the high-end, high-grown specialty coffees with often vibrantly acidic and sweet flavor profiles, or those with an ideal espresso character of caramel and lower acidity. Due to its temperate and tropical climates, Honduras produces coffees which are typically described as mild, robust, and sweet. Honduras coffee is grown on mountainside “fincas” (farms) at 1400 to 1700 meters above sea level.
Honduran coffees run the range of soft and nutty to bright and vibrant, making them difficult to identify in blends. More often than not, brands will feature them as their own single origin coffee. The best Honduran coffee will be the Strictly High Grown grade – these altitudes allow the coffee to grow slower, increasing the mineral and nutrient uptakes and developing a fuller, more robust flavor of coffee. Taking it a step further, you could also look for Bird-Friendly or Shade-Grown coffee, which intersperses other trees with the coffee trees to create shade and further slows the coffee growing.
Each of Honduras’s six coffee-growing regions is home to at least two or three of the five major arabica varieties:
Honduran coffee is aromatic and fragrant with notes of vanilla or hazelnut. Its body is often described as medium and round, and its acidity is generally well-balanced.
Located along the western coast of Honduras near Guatemala, Copan is known for its cool temperatures. Typically, the coffee here has notes of citrus, chocolate, and caramel. With a delicate acidity, its body, by contrast, is bold and creamy with a lingering finish.
Bourbon, Caturra, and Catuai are cultivated in this region, and it is marked by the Honduran Western Coffees Geographical Indication as a notable region.
Located in the southeastern part of Honduras, the tropical climate of Agalta yields fruity-tasting coffee. With an elevation of between 3,609 and 4,593 feet above sea level, its coffee’s aroma is rather caramel and chocolaty. It showcases a wide variety of tropical, fruity notes and has a pronounced acidity with a sweet finish.
The most common Arabica varieties grown here are Bourbon, Caturra, and Typica.
It holds the distinction of being Honduras’ first origin denomination, aka. Café de Marcala. Located on the border near El Salvador, coffee grows at an altitude of between 3,937 and 5,249 feet above sea level.
As a result, the colder nights bring out the coffee’s sweeter peach, apricot, caramel, and citrus notes. To round out the unique flavor profile, it has a velvety body with a bright acidity.
- El Paraiso – (Catuai, Caturra) – 1,100 to 1,400 meters above sea level: Those from El Paraiso offer a balanced, sweet/citrus flavor and aroma along with a soft body and good acidity.
- Comayagua – (Bourbon, Catuai, Caturra) – 1,100 to 1,400 meters above sea level – Comayagua are similar to those from Montecillos with a vibrant acidity and sweet+citric flavors that are matched by the aroma.
- Opalaca -Bourbon, Catuai, Caturra, Typica) – – 1,100 to 1,600 meters above sea level
About the Honduras SHG EP Organic Washed Arabica Coffee
Honduras Strictly High Grown European Preparation Organic Arabica coffee beans are grown at an altitude of 1,500 to 2,000 meters (SHG), qualifying this coffee as a Strictly High Grown bean. The coffee bush is of the Caturra, Bourbon, Catuai and Typica varietals. This is an Organic (Certified), Washed Arabica coffee. This Honduran coffee undergoes a 12 hr fermentation before both patio and mechanical drying.
Many Honduran farmers joined forces to change their coffee production from conventional to organic production and formed COMSA (Cafe Organico Marcala, S.A). Through and organisation called Funder, COMSA earned their organic certification from Bio Latina that enabled them to market their coffee to more international buyers to achieve higher selling prices for their coffee.
Honduras Unroasted-Coffee Processing
Honduras coffee is mostly washed, i.e. wet processed.
Honduras Unroasted-Coffee Gradings
Because Honduras contains both lowlands and more mountainous terrain, the coffee it produces is graded according to its elevation.
- Strictly high grown (SHG): 4,400 plus feet above sea level
- High grown (HG): 3,900-4,400 feet above sea level
- Central standard (CS): Below 3,900 feet above sea level
These are further classified in a group,
- Fully Washed (FW),
- Natural, un-washed (UW),
Honduras Strictly High Grown European Preparation Organic is an easy and versatile coffee to roast. Stay within medium to dark, i.e. after first but before second crack. A medium roast for a smooth and pretty sweet chocolaty cup and a dark roast for a more blunt in your face chocolate note. A faster roast will highlight the bright, clean flavor notes.
Honduras Coffee Cupping Notes
A Honduras coffee cup is very smooth, rich and clean; fuller bodied and lower acidity is the main tone and is going to be pretty chocolaty– a deep semi-sweet chocolate smokey note–balanced with just a hint of a floral aspect. This Honduran is a sweet, balanced, clean coffee with a nice spice note and slight wineyness at the lighter roasts. A little hint of acidity at lighter roasts but all in all this is a strong medium roast to dark roast coffee. If you nail the roast right on, it has a very nice mellow, smooth milk-chocolate tone, a bit more sweetness upfront and a cup everyone will enjoy. Darker will gain a lot of strength but also edginess. Stoned fruit flavours with hints of nuts. A sweet coffee with cocoa powder notes in the after-taste.