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.
Oliverio Lara Lopez and his son Jolman Walter own and manage the farm Bella Vista in the Gualme area of Corquin, Copan. The 3 and a half hectare farm sits 1350masl and is planted with Catuai, Lempira and IHCAFE90. Oliverio is a very experienced coffee producer, but also very open-minded and was keen to experiment with processing and improve the quality of his coffee. He was one of the first members of the coop to join the micro-lot programme and saw a huge improvement in the quality of his coffee as a result. This lot comes from Oliverios farm at higher altitude in Gualme, where he grows IHCAFE 90, Lempira and Catuai. This is a natural process where the coffee is floated and cleaned before being placed on raised beds in a solar drier for approximately 20 days.