Coffee farmer Jorge Isaac Hernandez has been a member with the Aruco micro mill since 2016, and has been working with specialty micro lots since 2017.
Back in 2013 he suffered heavily with the outbreak of leaf rust that swept Central America. This lead to Jorge beginning a process of renovation on the farm, planting new more rust resistant varietals like Obata, Paraninema and Icatu.
By 2015 he had replanted 90% of the farm, and seeing the increase of specialty coffees at the cooperative, he decided to join the program and have his coffees processed as natural too.
Honduras has the conditions to produce very good coffees: high altitude, volcanic & fertile soils, an ideal climate & plenty of expertise.
However, a lack of investment & inadequate infrastructure means that our suppliers must work extra hard to find, & support the best coffees that Honduras offers.
This year in particular the harvest for all producers was extremely difficult, with a tropical storm sweeping through the country back in November, increased rains during the harvest and a lack of pickers due to the pandemic, a large amount of coffee was lost from either falling to the ground or swelling and splitting on the tree.
All the co-operatives farmers have their micro lots processed at the Aruco Mill, to centralise and have greater control over the process; ensuring consistent procedures. The mill is situated 800 metres above sea level (MASL), giving a drier more stable environment/climate in which to dry the coffee; a much better alternative to the higher altitude farms where the weather can be less predictable.
On arrival at the mill the coffee cherries are assessed ( Brix reading taken - a measure of the amount of dissolved sugar ) and a decision is taken on the process for the coffees depending on space and what the producer has done already. The cherries are cleaned, washed and then floated to remove any that are unripe .
This coffee is then taken to the drying beds where it is dried for 20 - 30 days and turned hourly.
Subtle fig sweetness, hazelnut, sandlewood with a deep dark chocolate body.
No one knows for sure exactly when coffee first reached Honduras, but it is believed that seeds arrived from Costa Rica between 1799 & 1804, amongst the goods brought by travelling merchants.
Today, Honduras is the largest coffee producer in Central America & the industry plays an important role within the national economy.
Despite the huge scale of its annual coffee production & great potential for both growth & quality development, Honduras is rarely found center stage in the Central American coffee hall of fame – a mantle more likely coveted by its neighbours, Guatemala, Costa Rica and El Salvador; & 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.
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.
Honduran speciality coffees are classified using a system categorized by the height at which the coffee was grown.
Strictly High Grown (SHG), applies to coffees grown above 1200 masl, &High Grown (HG) above 1000 masl.
ALTITUDE RANGE - 1000 - 1600 MASL
AREAS SOURCED FROM- Copan, Montecillos, Agalta, Opalaca, El Paraiso, Comayagua
NUMBER OF COFFEE FARMING FAMILIES - 110,000