The Fascinating Story Behind Honduras Coffee Culture
Known for their high-quality coffee beans which have been sought and studied by people worldwide, coffee production is as much part of Honduras history as its economy. In 2011, Honduras became Central America’s top producer of coffee. In the UK alone, Honduras exports around 9,566 tons of coffee each year or around 4.0 billion cups of coffee. That’s a lot of coffee from a small country! Yet this wasn’t always the case. The coffee industry in Honduras struggled a lot in the past due to export issues and political problems. In this article, we’re going to explore the fascinating story behind Honduras coffee culture.
Coffee Cultivation in Honduras: The Past and Present
It might surprise you but coffee isn’t really a native crop to Honduras. Historians believe that coffee has been introduced to the country in the late 18th century by foreign traders or the Spaniards. Back then, Honduras was largely a Banana farming country – and coffee farms were non-existent. It was only around the 19th century when small-scale coffee production started in the country. During this time, the country had several small coffee plantations but because of the lack of means of transport and facilities, shipping the coffee to other parts of the country was difficult. Widespread cultivation of coffee only begun in the second half of the 20th century
Fast-forward today, Honduras is now a large producer of coffee. This can be attributed, aside from the market demand, to the number of people who farm the crop. A recent stat has shown that around 12% of jobs in Honduras are brought by the coffee industry. There are also lots of small producers earning good income from coffee. According to reports, there are about 110,000 thousand coffee producers in Honduras and more than 90% of them are small producers! Coffee production has helped the country, giving jobs to people and income to families in the producing seasons.
What makes Honduran coffee…. The best kind of brew in the world? One word: diversity. Honduran coffee varies in flavor based on the region where they are grown. Most coffee beans are grown in special areas where the altitude allows the coffee to grow slower, thereby increasing its nutrients and mineral while developing a robust flavor.
Full of flavor, each type of coffee bean from its own region has its distinct crisp smell and smoothness. For example, in Copan, you can find coffee that has a rich sweet-scent with strong notes of citrus, caramel, and chocolate. In the Olpaca region where there’s a whole lot of refined flavors from the vegetation including tropical fruits and berries, you can find coffee that has “a fine delicate acidity and a balanced aftertaste”. While in Montecillos, where the night is colder and cherries grow sweeter, you can find coffee that is more velvety and sparkling with tartaric acidity.
Have you ever visited a coffee farm in Honduras? Share your experience in the comments below!