Honduras is the largest producer of coffee in Central America, yet you are much less likely to have heard of their coffees than their neighbors in Guatemala, El Savador, or even Nicaragua. While the rest of Central America was ramping up coffee production, Honduras initially produced coffee mostly for themselves. Instead, Honduras was exporting bananas. The book, Reinterpreting the Banana Republic: Region and State in Honduras, 1870-1972, tells the wild story of how behemoth banana companies toppled and rebuilt Honduras bending it to their will. This gave Honduras the nickname, the Banana Republic.
As attention was heaped on bananas, coffee remained in the background present but unremarkable. This is how, only recently, Honduras found itself with some of the world’s best growing conditions for coffee but relatively no market desirability for their crop. It was not uncommon for coffee from Honduras to be smuggled to Guatemala to be deceptively marketed as a more desirable coffee.
When commodity coffee prices fell, Honduran farmers were left with two choices, plant other crops, or improve the quality of their coffee. While it’s easy for us to look at moments like these now and say, yes, higher quality coffee attracts higher prices, risks like these are huge for farmers. If you invest in a new dry mill, or increase labor to harvest only the ripest cherries, and then you don’t make more money, you’ve got a big problem.
Fortunately, organizations like IHCAFE (the Honduran national coffee institute) and the Alliance for Coffee Excellence have helped provide resources and education which have allowed the coffee industry in Honduras to make great strides in the past ten year. As we’re introducing this coffee to you, there seems to be a lot of new interest in Honduras as a producing nation.
This month, we’re featuring the first natural coffee to come to Coffee World Tour (and we’ve already purchased our second.) Natural coffees are no more or less natural than washed coffees, which are more common. They get their name because where washed coffees are fermented to remove the coffee’s fruit, a natural cherry is dried in the sun like a raisin before the fruit is separated. This typically adds a little extra fruitiness to a coffee. Honduras as a country tends to have brighter, fruitier coffees to begin with, so we decided to double down and share a natural coffee produced in Marcala, La Paz by Isaura Martinez. Isaura has become well known for her annual natural lots which typically have bold and interesting flavors. This month’s coffee is kissed with blueberry notes, so we’re calling it Blueberry Breeze. You’ll probably be able to smell it before you can taste it. We’ve also combined two separate roast profiles to create this month’s coffee — a darker roast that reminds us an old school holiday with the lighter roast which accentuates the blueberry and spice flavors.
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bold and fruity
blueberry, caramel, strawberry
black and tan
Lot Size: 1200kg, Cup Score: 89
Finca San Jacinto
Marcala, La Paz, Montecillos
Relationship Established: 2020
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