Chocolate Cake & Red Apple
Harvest: Feb-Mar 2019
Producer: Hernán Gomez
Region: Pozo Negro, Intibuca
Altitude: 1700 masl
Arrival: May 2019
Honduras is an exception when it comes to Central American coffee production, as they are the only country increasing its volume, and at a rapid rate! In 2018, it overtook Ethiopia as the third largest arabica producer in the world. Yet, Honduras is not nearly as well known or established in the speciality market. Producers here have long suffered the repercussions of global market trends, left rust and the limitations being a small scale farmer places on your profitability. The coffee here is delicious but sadly the industry is incredibly vulnerable. It’s estimated that 86% of the country's production is produced by small to medium sized farmers, who in many cases are selling their coffee for less than it costs to produce.
The cost of production in Honduras is on the rise and one of the main reasons for this is their constant struggle against leaf rust. Leaf rust is an airborne fungal disease that can devastate entire regions. When a plant is infected, it is unable to produce cherry and it spreads easily from tree to tree. To stop the disease from spreading, farmers must treat all trees with fungicides, which can severely affect their yield. When yield is down, the cost of production goes up, as fixed costs are spread over fewer cherries. Organisations such as IHCAFE are working to develop new varieties with leaf rust resistance, but implementing these on an existing farm is costly. Old trees must be removed and new trees take several years to become productive and in this time, leaf rust can evolve. A variety developed by IHCAFE specifically for its resistance to leaf rust, known as Lempira, was found affected by the disease in 2017.
One of the reasons Honduran coffee is not well established within the speciality market is because most small scale farmers can only produce coffee to parchment stage and are unable to dry, sort, and grade their coffee for export. With a lack of service providers, their coffee is mixed and blended with other cherry deliveries and sold as a generic regional product. This however, is starting to change as farmers recognise the economic benefit of producing higher quality coffee. By forming groups and cooperatives, they can work together to share knowledge, increase quality and reinvest in infrastructure that will benefit the community. This coffee comes from Hernán Gomez who is one of 60 members of the Pozo Negro group in the region of Intabuca. This group of producers is making an enormous effort to improve their wet mills and drying facilities, allowing for greater traceability and separation of micro-lots. Our importing partner, Nordic Approach, is working with individuals within the group, giving each farmer a chance to create a name for themselves and their coffees.
This is the first coffee we’ve purchased from Honduras and it’s one that jumped off the table back at the Spring cupping in Oslo. It’s unique flavours of chocolate cake and sweet red apple was something quite new to us! Indulgent, rich and juicy, this coffee is like a liquid dessert and it won’t hang around for long!