|SHG EP||Copan, Comayagua, Agalta, Mentecillos, Opalaca and El Paraiso||Washed||None||Select|
|HG EP||Copan, Comayagua, Agalta, Mentecillos, Opalaca and El Paraiso||Washed||None||Select|
|SHG EP Rainforest Alliance||Copan, Comayagua, Agalta, Mentecillos, Opalaca and El Paraiso||Washed||RFA||Select|
While it is the largest coffee producer in Central America and a prominent producing country worldwide, Honduras has only recently started to gain recognition for its high-quality coffees. Situated between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Honduras shares borders with Nicaragua to the East, and Guatemala and El Salvador to the West. With a history of political instability and a lack of infrastructure, Honduras has been a little late out of the starting gate with respect to production of high quality coffee.
It is estimated that the first plants were introduced to Honduras from Costa Rica at the beginning of the 19th century. Honduras is the archetypal ‘banana republic’ with growth of the coffee industry relying initially on infrastructure and agricultural reforms developed during the banana industry that boomed throughout the late 19th and early 20th century. With high altitudes, rich, volcanic soils and a tropical climate Honduras provides an ideal environment for coffee cultivation; and the coffee industry flourished throughout the late 1900’s. In 1970, the Honduran government created the Instituto Hondureño del Café, or IHCAFE, which sought to further improve infrastructure, support smallholder growers in variety and technology innovation whilst developing new international markets.
|Annual production:||6.5 million bags|
|Altitude range:||1000 - 1600 masl|
|No coffee farmers:||100,000|
|Harvest times:||November - April|
|Key growing regions:||Copan, Comayagua, Agalta, Mentecillos, Opalaca and El Paraiso|
|Typical varieties:||Bourbon, Typica, Caturra, Catuai, Lempira, IHCAFE90 and Parainema|
|Grading system:||Sorted by altitude; SHB (Strictly Hard Bean) 1200masl and above, and HB (Hard Bean) above 1000masl|
|Processing type:||Washed, Honey and Natural|
Today coffee is a vital crop for Honduras. The primary areas of coffee cultivation are in the Western departments of Copan, close to the border with Guatemala, Opalaca and Montecillos near the El Salvadorian border, and the central regions of Agalta and Comayagua, and El Paraiso close to Nicaragua. Most coffee grown throughout these regions is by smallholder farms, each with an average of 2-5 hectares of land. There are over 100,000 farmers throughout Honduras (small holders account for over 90% of the country’s production) producing increasingly high quality coffee with ever increasing diversity of cup profile. Smallholders typically manage their farms with the help of families, employing local pickers during peak harvest, and either have small micro-mills and processing equipment on the farm, or access to these through nearby cooperatives and associations.
Washed-processed coffee is most common, which tends to be dried on patios or in parabolic drying tunnels known as ‘domos’. Natural and Honey processed coffee processing is also on the increase to meet an increase in global market demand. The varieties cultivated in Honduras have been heavily shaped by the country’s history with roya and influenced by IHCAFE, through their R&D and roll-out of disease resistant varieties. Currently over 70% of the coffee in Honduras is planted with disease resistant varieties such as Lempira, Parainema and IHCAFE90, in reaction to disease, with the remaining 30% being Typica, Bourbon, Caturra or Catuai.