PRODUCER: SANTOS ORTEGA MARTINEZ
REGION: BELÉN GUALCHO, YARUCHEL
VARIETALS: IHCAFE 90
FARM SIZE: 3.2 HECTARES
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the “origin” story of Honduras isn’t clear: Reports vary about when and how coffee first came to the country, though conventional wisdom puts the first noteworthy harvest year at 1804, in the Comayagua department. No matter when the plants were first brought here, they have played an increasingly significant role in the national economy since then—so much so that credit is largely given to coffee for preventing the national government from going bankrupt during financial crisis in 2009.
Established in 1970 (and privatized in 2000), the country’s Instituto Hondureño del Cafe (IHCAFE) has sought to improve the infrastructure that would encourage the development of higher-quality markets, as well as provide hardier varieties and technological advancements, especially to the many smallholder growers. The organization is also very involved in organizing and marketing the country’s Cup of Excellences competitions, which have brought a noteworthy increase in attention and credit given to the finest lots the producers here have to offer.
Despite lacking the “sexy” reputation of other Central American coffee-growing countries like Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Guatemala, Honduras has quietly become the bigger producer, exporting more volume than any other nation in the region, and the seventh overall in the world for exports. While there is certainly quantity coming out of Honduras, it can be harder to find truly quality coffees here, though, because the country lacks the infrastructure to support the more nuanced specialty market its neighbors enjoy.
The Central Bank of Honduras reports that coffee is the top agricultural export for the country, with about 6.1 million bags from the 2015/2016 harvest. Unfortunately, low prices and a reputation for lower quality (“blenders”) has prevented farmers from gaining the capital needed to invest in their varieties, husbandry, milling, or marketing.
This coffee is produced by Santos Ortega Martinez who owns a 3.28-hectare farm called El Aguacate, where he grows IHCAFE 90 variety coffee. The coffee is picked ripe and depulped the following day, then fermented dry for 23 hours. It's washed one time and spread in solar driers for 30 days.
Those that appreciate a smooth, balanced coffee that is sweet and chocolatey will really enjoy this coffee.