Honduras produces a lot of coffee. In fact, it produces the most of any Central American country and, until last year, we had largely overlooked it as an origin. This was mainly due to unfamiliarty and our being wary of the shelf life of the coffees produced there.
But then, last year, we took the plunge and purchased our first ever Honduran coffee. Produced by Francisco Alvarado, his farm, Finca El Durazno, is based in the small community of Pozo Negro in Masaguara, located in Honduras’ Intibucá department. We were so delighted with the coffee that we travelled to Honduras for the first time in February of this year with the intention of seeing what else we might enjoy and want to bring back to roast here in our London roastery.
Alongside Joanne from Nordic Approach, our first port of call was RAGA coffee lab, where we cupped thirty-four samples over the course of our first morning. In these circumstances, everything is always assessed blind, with no information presented until after notes and assessments have been made. The general calibre of coffee samples we were presented with was outstanding. However, the very first coffee we tasted stood out as particularly sweet and layered, and we earmarked it as a lot that was of major interest and which we’d like to pursue. It was Francisco Alvarado’s.
The next day, we spent some time visiting several small producers in Pozo Negro. Unfortunately, Francisco was unavailable that day, so we didn’t get the opportunity to meet him and thank him for his exceptional coffee last year. We were, however, able to explore his coffee farm, which was in equal parts beautiful and terrifying. The bourbon coffee trees on Finca El Durazno are planted on an extreme incline, with dusty, loose soil between the rows. We scrambled around as we checked the health and vitality of his plants, before making our way carefully back down to the dirt track to hop in the car and head back to Marcala.
Grown at 1,700m, this lot is comprised entirely of Bourbon and harvested by a team of around twenty coffee pickers – mostly Francisco’s family and neighbours. It’s then depulped and fermented overnight for 18-22 hours before being washed with clean water and scrubbed clean. From there, it’s put out to dry on raised beds under parabolic solar dryers, which help to dry the coffee uniformly. Francisco’s whole family are involved in the cultivation, processing and drying of the coffee, including his two children. Over the last ten years of producing coffee at Finca El Durazno, he has invested in planting more diverse coffee varieties and making improvements to his processing and drying infrastructure.
We’re excited to continue our work in Honduras, seeking to evolve our sourcing strategy in the in the country in years to come. Our hope, as always, is to commit to more repeat purchases like this, aiming to establish and develop long-term relationships with quality focussed producers.
Pozo Negro, Masaguara, Intibucá, Honduras
A super clean cup with aromas of crystallised ginger, chamomile & lilies. Sweet fruit notes of yellow plums complement delicate herbal tones in the finish.