No one knows for sure exactly when coffee first reached Honduras, but it is believed that seeds arrived from Costa Rica between 1799 and 1804, amongst the goods brought by travelling merchants. Today, Honduras is the largest coffee producer in Central America, and the industry plays an important role in the national economy.
Despite the huge scale of its annual coffee production and great potential for both growth and quality development, in the Central American coffee hall of fame, Honduras is rarely found at centre stage – a mantle more likely coveted by its neighbours, Guatemala, Costa Rica and El Salvador. And yet on paper, the reputation of Honduras 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. Unfortunately, a lack of investment and inadequate infrastructure means that we must work extra hard to find the best coffees that Honduras offers. Much of the country’s output feeds the commodity coffee market, despite the steps taken to improve quality by the country’s national coffee institute: Instituto Hondureno del Café (IHCAFE). The high average annual rainfall, which reaches 240cm in the North of the country, can also complicate the process of drying coffee once it has been harvested, prior to export.
This coffee comes from our partner CAFESMO, a cooperative formed in 2016. Individually the fincas that makeup CAFESMO are very small, between roughly 2 and 12 hectares. The area where they cultivate coffee, a large area around the hills of Mercedes, is located in the very south of Honduras, a stone’s throw from El Salvador and Guatemala. Some of the country’s highest
peaks protect their fincas and create microclimates that contribute to unique flavour profiles in the area.
On the west side, Cerro Pital proudly towers above their fincas, and on the other, Guisayote National Reserve and the Pacayita volcano create ideal conditions to grow coffee. The omnipresence of mountains creates highly beneficial micro-climates, as well as diverse fauna and flora on and around the plantations, with plentiful natural shade. The region of Ocotepeque is furthermore known for its rich soil and perfect altitude range to grow unique, richly flavoured coffees. They also have their own wet mill and dry mill!