Background to the Honduras coffee origin
It is not exactly known when coffee first reached Honduras, but it is believed that seeds may have arrived from Costa Rica between 1799 and 1804 amongst the goods brought by traveling merchants. Today, coffee plays an important role within the national economy – in 2011, Honduras produced more bags of coffee than Costa Rica and Guatemala combined. This shows that Honduras has great potential for growth and quality improvement.
Speciality coffee in Honduras
Coffee from the Honduras coffee origin is rarely found at centre stage of Central American coffee. When it comes to coffee awareness, the country is more likely to be found standing in the shadows of its more illustrious neighbours, Guatemala, Costa Rica and El Salvador. And yet on paper the reputation of Honduras coffee should be up there with those countries, since it has the same conditions to produce very good coffees: high altitude, volcanic and fertile soils, an ideal climate and plenty of expertise. Sadly however, a lack of investment and inadequate infrastructure means that finding the top quality speciality lots that Honduras can offer, is extremely hard work to find. That being said, over recent years, there has been an emergence of awareness of the benefits of growing speciality coffee amongst some forward thinking farmers. It is these such farms that our importers are working with to develop great tasting Honduras coffee.
There are six main departments in which coffee is grown in the Honduras coffee origin: Agalta, Comayagua, Copan, El Paraiso, Montecillos and Opalaca.
Agalta pans most of northern Honduras and has a vast amount of protected rain forest. Altitudes ranger 1,000 – 1,400 masl. Harvest is December – March and common coffee varietals are Bourbon, Caturra and Typica.
Comayagua is in western central Honduras. Altitudes of 1,100 – 1,500 masl. Harvest is December to March and coffee varietals are Bourbon, Caturra and Typica.
Copan is a department situated in the west of Honduras and close to the border of Guatemala. Altitudes range from 1,000 – 1,500 masl. The harvest occurs between November to March and common coffee varietals are Bourbon, Caturra and Catuai.
El Paraiso is located to the east of Honduras, bordering Nicaragua and is one of the oldest regions. It recently has suffered quite heavily with Roya – leaf rust. Altitudes range 1,000 – 1,400 masl. Harvest occurs between December and March with varietals of Catuai and Caturra.
Montecillios is considered a parent region of some sub-regions including La Paz and Marcala. Altitudes of 1,200 – 1,600 masl. Harvest happens in December – April with varietals of Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai and Pacas.
Opalaca is named after the Opalaca mountain range that stretches through this region. Altitudes of 1,100 – 1,500 masl are seen. Harvest is November to February. Bourbon, Catuai and Typica varietals can be found here.