Green Coffee Offerings : Central America : Honduras
Upcoming Crop Comments
In 2011 we had Cocosam as well as a very nice lot from San Vicente. We were very happy with our Cup of Excellence lot from Santa Barbara as well. We unfortunately haven't cupped anything that could make the cut. We're putting our feelers out there for new opportunities and hope to have new and exciting offers for 2013..
About Honduran Coffee
Training at Finca Nueve Posas
Honduran coffee had been absent from the top ranks of the specialty coffee market but that is changing. It has all the environmental factors on its side: soil, altitude, climate, and farmers increasingly better-trained in agricultural practices. All its neighbors have sophisticated coffee production: Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. But what has been lacking is good coffee processing and transporting, capital and a distinct "name" in the consumer market. It has been known mostly as a source for commercial coffee, not specialty. This means that even a good quality Honduran does not 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 realize the coffee's potential. So Honduran coffee ends up as a good mild blender, and not as a single-origin or farm-specific coffee. It is a vicious cycle.
In 2003, I was able to judge at the first Honduras Specialty Coffee Competition held in San Pedro Sula, and my ulterior motive on this trip was to find some truly special Honduran coffees for Sweet Maria's. That event was the precursor of the Cup of Excellence competitions, which have been held each year since then, and helped uncover high quality coffees in Honduras. For our part, we are buying really good coffees and paying way over Specialty prices.
Honduras, like other origins, it is varied, so I can't speak about it as a single entity: coffees from Copan differ from Lempira or Santa Barbara or El Paraiso. In general, we have seen lower acidity from Hondurans lately and greater sweetness, which makes it a great choice as a Central American component in espresso. The largest growing region is Santa Barbara, as well as 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.
Our Unroasted Honduran Offerings:Please refer to our Reference Page for definitions of terms and cupping numbers used below. Check out the Sweet Maria's Coffee Home Roasting Forum for more conversation about home roasting this and other coffees.
We are currently out of stock. The review below is provided for your reference.
We did not buy a ton of Cup of Excellence lots this year, but I am very happy with the ones we have offered, including this lot from the same region and same mill as our larger lot this year, Beneficio San Vicente. These coffees from the Santa Barbara region have been really nice this year. The farm is called Ovidio, the name of the farmer, Ovidio Gomez Hernandez. It is located in the Las Flores area of Santa Barbara at 1600 meters, planted in the Bourbon-type varietal Pacas, with some Catuai. Finca Ovidio is 4.4 hectares, a good size compared to many of the smallholder coffee farms in the area. Harvest starts in January and ends in May, and the coffee is processed by traditional fermentation; 14 hours on a hot day and 28 hours if the weather is cold.
This is a fantastic cup, featuring a dry fragrance fruited with hints of chirimoya and guava in the light roasts, and caramel custard at darker levels. The wet aroma is beautiful, with these tropical fruit notes as well as hazelnut-vanilla, and a bit of nutmeg-mace on the break. The cup is very sweet, lushly fruited, and a bit exotic in flavor profile. I especially liked the City+ roast, although the lighter City roast had more intense aromatics. At City+ the cup achieved a balance between panela-like sweetness, caramel and vanilla, nearly floral, and the tropical fruit notes, guava, peach, strawberry, and slight orange peel citrus notes in the finish. While this was 11th in the auction, it was my personal #1, a coffee that should have won a Presidential Award in the event for a 90+ lot.
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We are currently out of stock. The review above is provided for your reference.
To view reviews for out of stock coffees, visit our Honduras Coffee Archives.
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This page is authored by Thompson Owen and Sweet Maria's Coffee, Inc. and is not to be copied or reproduced without permission