Last June I was lucky to be chosen to be a judge at the Honduras Cup of Excellence competition. This was a great event that really opened my eyes to the possibilities that Honduras has to offer with its coffee profiles. Honduras borders Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, and often Honduran coffee will cross borders and will be sold as those varietals instead. Guatemala is currently the largest Central American exporter of coffee, however if Honduran coffee wasn't smuggled into other countries - they would probably be the largest exporter.
Honduras has a long history with coffee and many of the estates/farms have been controlled by the same family for many generations. An interesting fact is that 91% of the farms in Honduras contribute to 50% of the coffee sold in Honduras. What this shows is how many small estates there are to work with in this country, the challenge is finding them. Of the 38,000,000 lbs of coffee sold in Honduras, 45% is sold as an Organic/Fair-trade/Organic Fair-trade and only about 10% is even offered as a single estate. Most of this is from huge farms and sold for commercial use.
Our goal when planning this trip was to establish a Direct Trade partnership with a family and farm who's products stood out as exceptional on our cupping table when sampling late last year.
In the west of Honduras is a region called La Paz, and in this region is an area called Marcala. Marcala is known for the quality of coffee produced, and has a history & tradition that reaches back to the late 1800's. Families have owned and worked there farms for 4 generations and practice harvesting techniques that produce clean, sweet and rich tasting coffee. One hour south of Marcala is the town Opatoro, and just out side Opatoro is a very small village called La Florida, and just a few miles out side La Florida is a small coffee estate called Arenal (Arenal Estate is situated 70 km from El Salvador). (more…)