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!?
Home Groudns has rounded up six amazing Honduran coffee beans for you to try. They’re of all styles and flavors, so you’re sure to find a favorite.
The 4 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.
1. Spirit Animal Parainema – Best Medium Roast
Roast level: Medium
- Tasting notes: Peach, guava, sweet fruits
- Varieties: Parainema
- Processing: Washed
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 Parainema, a vibrant medium roast with flavors of peach and guava. With a score of 89-points on the cupping scale, it is one of the highest-rated Honduran coffees and more than worthy of top spot on this list.
2. Fresh Roasted Coffee Organic Honduran Marcala – Budget Pick
Roast level: Medium
- Tasting notes: Walnut, milk chocolate, lemon
- Varietal(s): Arabica
- Processing: Washed
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.
3. Volcanica Honduras Copan Coffee – Best Organic
Roast level: Medium
- Tasting notes: Graham cracker, brown sugar, stone fruit
- Varieties: n/a
- Processing: Washed
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 Direct Trade micro-lot coffee is sourced from a single-family farm located in Copán, high in the mountains near the Guatemalan border. The farm lies amid vineyards and olive trees, which provide an unusual terroir that comes through in the cup.
The dominant notes in this naturally sweet coffee are graham cracker, brown sugar, and stone fruit. Try brewing this one with a Chemex or Kalita Wave.
4. Alma Coffee Natural Process – Best Light Roast
Roast level: Light-Medium
- Tasting notes: Sweet raspberry, cherry, honeycrisp apple
- Varieties: Parainema
- Processing: Natural
Light roasted coffee is already known for its bright acidity, fruity and floral flavors, and smooth mouthfeel. Add natural processing into the mix, which emphasizes the natural sweetness of the coffee cherry, and you’ve got a recipe for a very juicy brew.
Grown on a female-owned-and-operated farm by a 5th generation coffee farmer, this coffee is a perfect example of what a lighter roast coffee should be: complex in flavor and almost refreshing in the cup. It would make a fantastic cold brew.
Expect to taste sweet and syrupy notes of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry with a balancing pineapple acidity and just a hint of floral rose. This is a far cry from the typical nuts-and-chocolate flavored brew, and we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
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 top picks from Coffee Bros.
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://dailycoffeenews.com/2020/11/30/hurricane-damage-estimates-emerging-from-the-coffee-lands-of-honduras-and-nicaragua/