Roasting date: 13/04/21
Trader: Falcon Coffee
Carlos Alfredo Estevez is a second generation coffee farmer from the Corquin area of Copan. Carlos is a trained agronomist and started out with Aruco as a technician, visiting farmers and giving training on farm management. Four years ago when Falcon started the quality uplift project in Honduras, Carlos was appointed as manager of micro-lots and specialty coffee. This has seen him learn about all aspects of coffee quality, covering plant nutrition through to innovative fermentation and drying methods, all in order to coax the most out of the coffee in the area.
Having seen the success of the micro-lot project, Carlos decided to buy new land. He found land in the higher lands in the area, all above 1450masl, where coffee quality is higher. Carlos grows caturra, lempira, parainema and Ihcafe 90, some of which was recently planted and some was already growing when he bought the land. The name of this farm is El Supte.
The mill is also at 800 masl which gives a drier more stable climate to dry the coffee compared to up at the farms where the weather can be less predictable.The coffee will be delivered to the mill where they assess the cherry (take Brix) and decide on the process for the coffees depending on space and what the producer has done already
The cherry is cleaned and washed and then floated to remove any immatures.Then it is placed into barrels that are sealed to create an environment without oxygen for the cherry to continue ferment and macerate in the barrels for different times. In the barrel the temperature is monitored and kept around 22-25c in the shade at the wet mill. This was macerated for 90hrs.The coffee is then taken to the beds where it is dried for between 20 -30 days weather depending where it is turned hourly.
No one knows for sure exactly when coffee first reached Honduras, but it is believed that seeds arrived from Costa Rica between 1799 and 1804, amongst the goods brought by travelling merchants. Today, Honduras is the largest coffee producer in Central America, and the industry plays an important role within the national economy.
Despite the huge scale of its annual coffee production and great potential for both growth and quality development, in the Central American coffee hall of fame, Honduras is rarely found at centre stage – a mantle more likely coveted by its neighbours, Guatemala, Costa Rica and El Salvador. And 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: high altitude, volcanic and fertile soils, an ideal climate and plenty of expertise. Unfortunately, a lack of investment and inadequate infrastructure means that we must work extra hard to find the best coffees that Honduras offers. Much of the country’s output feeds the commodity coffee market, despite the steps taken to improve quality by the country’s national coffee institute: Instituto Hondureno del Café (IHCAFE). 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 specialty 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, and High Grown (HG) above 1000 masl. Alike other Central American nations, Honduran coffee is shipped in 69 kilo bags.