Honduran Coffee: Brands and Buying Guide
Given its perfect coffee-growing climate, it’s no surprise that Honduras produces some incredible coffee. The only surprise is how long it has taken this origin to emerge on the specialty coffee scene!?
In this review, we’ve rounded up six great Honduran coffee beans for you to try. They’re of all styles and flavors, so you’re sure to find a favorite.
At A Glance:
The 6 Best Honduran Coffee Beans
Honduran coffee beans are now on par with the best whole bean coffee in the world after years spent in the shadows of other single-origin coffees from Central America, like Guatemalan coffee, and coffee from Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Finally, these beans come into its own. Indeed, a recent lot of coffee from the origin achieved record prices at auction (1).
With Honduras breaking the record, it sends a strong message to the specialty coffee world of its unique place as a top coffee producing country.
Keep reading about six stunning Honduran coffee beans to make sure they’re well worth paying top dollar for.
||Spirit Animal Catuai & Bourbon||
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||Fresh Roasted Coffee Organic Honduran Marcala||
||Volcanica Honduras Natural Honey Coffee||
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||Gimme! Honduras Santa Bárbara Highlands||
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||Passenger Olivin Moreno-Pinares Plot||
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||Coava Coffee Honduras La Pena||
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Spirit Animal is a new company. But they’re already making waves thanks to their consistently high-end micro-lot coffee. Spirit Animal is based in Honduras, and they source specialty coffee exclusively from small farmers. Most importantly, they always pay Fair Trade prices or above, which is crucial to support the coffee industry (2).
The only way to really gain a financial advantage is by advocating for fair trade coffee, which isn’t easy to obtain. Not everyone wants to pay those fair wages, unfortunately.
Because they source only the top beans from each harvest, each coffee is available only as a limited release. So consider signing up for a subscription to ensure you never miss out on a spectacular brew. Each batch is roasted in Honduras and then air-freighted for optimum freshness.
Right now, check out their Catuai & Bourbon blend, a light-medium roast with tropical flavors of jasmine, orange zest, and hazelnut backed with a chocolatey sweetness and creamy mouthfeel.
Related: What is Micro-Lot Coffee?
Generally, Amazon is not the best place to find fresh coffee, but I often make an exception for Fresh Roasted. They offer consistently tasty coffee beans at very reasonable prices. So if you want a taste of Honduran coffee without breaking the bank, give these certified Organic and Fair Trade beans a shot.
Grown in the famed region of Marcala, this medium-roasted coffee has a rich body and robust flavor. Many claim it rivals Guatemala in coffee quality, and for a good reason. Like other coffee beans from the region, you’ll taste nuts and milk chocolate, but a bright hit of lemon in this brew gives it a bit of unexpected character.
Volcanica Coffee is known for sourcing some of the world’s finest coffee beans. They specialize in volcanic origins, where the high altitude and mineral-rich soil provide ideal growing conditions for Arabica coffee. You can buy any whole coffee bean or ground fresh to order.
This Organic and Fair Trade certified micro-lot coffee is sourced from a single-family farm located in Copán, which lies well above sea level. The coffee beans are naturally honey processed, giving them a sweet and fruity flavor profile.
The dominant notes are honeysuckle, tea-like lemongrass, and berry, bright flavors enhanced by the lighter medium roast. Try brewing this one with a Chemex or Kalita Wave.
This bold Honduran coffee from Gimme! features the classic dark roast flavors of toasted walnut and dark chocolate, with plenty of sweetness. It’s rich and full-bodied, making for an incredible espresso. Its strong flavors hold up well to milk, so it also makes an excellent base for a latte or cafe au lait.
The coffee beans are grown on a collection of small family farms in the Santa Barbara region of Honduras, an area known for its biodiversity and mountainous terrain. The region’s climate produces distinctly sweet coffee and favors the Pacas varietal, which is famous for its unique flavors.
This coffee also stems from Santa Barbara’s region so that you can expect a sweet brew with the complex flavors of the Pacas varietal. Passenger is a well-known roaster of premium coffees and a certified B Corporation. They prioritize sustainability along with quality coffee.
From producer Olvin Moreno, this micro-lot coffee was grown on a small farm backing a protected forest reserve. The aroma is richly floral, while the flavors are balanced between chocolatey sweetness and green apple acidity.
This light roast Honduran coffee from Coava Coffee is another micro-lot selection, this time from the Capucas region. Coava has worked diligently to enhance the coffee’s quality, with improvements to mills, farmer education, and coffee quality competitions. And the results are apparent in the cup.
This very mild and clean-tasting brew is a blend of the Catuai and Pacas varietals, yielding a flavor combination of chocolate, orange, and hazelnut. These flavors are typical to the origin, but the light roast here brings the bright citrus more to the fore.
How to Choose the Best Honduran Coffee Beans
There are many ways to find the “best” single origin coffee beans from a region. You can look for either famous roasters, high cupping scores, or award winners. It’s all legit! But, really, the best Honduran coffee is the one that tastes best to you.
So I say, look for flavors, roasts, and varietals you enjoy. Keep reading to find out how.
A Brief Look at Honduran Coffee:
Coffee has long been grown in Honduras, but people mainly used it in blends due to poor quality control. Meanwhile, specialty coffee from other South and Central American coffee growing regions and Jamaican coffee from the Blue Mountains grew in prestige.
In 2000, the Instituto Hondureño del Café was founded to improve Honduran coffee production quality and promote it abroad. And the results are impressive.
There are now nearly 90 million coffee trees in Honduras, employing 2 million people during the harvest season. Coffee is grown throughout the country, but the six leading coffee-growing regions are Copan, Opalaca, Montecillos, Comayagua, El Paraiso, and Agalta (3). There’s also the municipality of Marcala, the first region to receive a “protected origin denomination” for coffee.
Honduran coffee is classified both by growing region and altitude.
Higher altitude beans are considered better quality because they grow more slowly. That’s why they’re denser and more flavor-packed.
The grades are Central Standard (0 – 3900’ above sea level), High Grown (3900’ – 4400’ above sea level), and Strictly High Grown (4400’+ above sea level). Honduras also has classifications for Bird Friendly and Shade Grown coffee.
Look at Roast Levels and Flavor Profiles!
Much like coffee from the Dominican Republic, Honduran coffee is very versatile, with a mild sweetness and pleasant flavors of nuts, chocolate, and ripe fruit. You can find great Honduran coffee with nearly any roast level and flavor profile you enjoy, so don’t be afraid to try anything.
- Dark roasts often feature dark chocolate, toasted nuts, and red fruit flavors.
- Medium roasts taste of nuts, tropical fruits, and milk chocolate, sometimes with orange citrus acidity.
- Light roasts are still characteristically nutty, but they’re brighter, with more fruit and floral notes.
Varietals and What They Mean
At this point, most coffee lovers know about Arabica and Robusta beans. Arabica is considered the higher end, with sweeter and more complex flavors. Robusta is cheaper and easier to grow but can have a harsher taste.
But there’s more to the story. There are different varietals of Arabica, each with its own unique assets.
The most common are Bourbon, Caturra, Typica, Catuai, and Pacas, all of which are grown in Honduras, but there are dozens more. If you love specialty coffee, seek out different varietals to see which appeal to your palate.
Processing Method Impacts Flavor.
As you start buying high-end whole bean coffee, which I wholeheartedly recommend, you’ll notice that the processing method is usually specified. That’s because it impacts the flavor of the beans, so it’s worth understanding.
- Natural or dry-processed coffee beans are dried while still in the coffee fruit, called the cherry. As they dry, they absorb more sugar from the fruit, so they tend to be sweeter. However, they’re also more prone to rot and off-flavors, so dry-processed coffees need to be carefully watched.
- Washed or wet processing removes the bean from the cherry before drying. This method is more common because it’s easier to control, more consistent, and yields clean tasting coffee.
- Honey processing falls in between the two and can highlight the best of both. The coffee fruit is partially removed to produce a sweet, complex, and clean tasting brew.
Honduran coffee now measures up to that of its more well-known Central American neighbors. Specialty coffee in Honduras is widely appealing thanks to mild, sweet, and clean flavors, with notes of chocolate, nuts, and tropical fruit.
Sounds appealing? Give Honduran coffee a try, starting with our favorite this year, the Catuai & Bourbon from Spirit Animal Coffee.
Honduras exported 4,173,000 sacks of coffee in 2014, which amounted to about 4% of the world’s supply and made them the 7th largest coffee exporter. However, hurricanes and other erratic weather have affected coffee production in many growing regions (4).
Honduras is known for growing bananas, tobacco, sugar cane, and corn. And coffee, of course. Honduran farmers are sustained by planting genetically modified corn, which is illegal in Central America.
Bird-Friendly coffee is coffee grown in a way that promotes habitat for migrating birds and, in turn, biodiversity in general. The certification is awarded by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and has several specific criteria.
- Brown, N. (2017, June 26). At $124.50 Per Pound, Honduras Coffee Breaks Cup Of Excellence Record. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2017/06/26/at-124-50-per-pound-honduras-coffee-breaks-cup-of-excellence-record/
- Mendoza, M. (2019, May 23). “I Built Everything”: Farmers in Honduras Fight for Their Coffee Lives. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2019/05/23/i-built-everything-farmers-in-honduras-fight-for-their-coffee-lives/
- Guerra, G. (2017, August 7). Introducing the 6 Coffee Regions of Honduras. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2017/08/introducing-the-6-coffee-regions-of-honduras/
- Perez, M.G. (2020, December 1). Honduras Coffee Growers Face Escalating Woes After Hurricanes. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-01/honduras-coffee-growers-face-escalating-woes-after-hurricanes