Honduran coffee means a lot to me. It was the first (and only) ever coffee producing country that I get to know very deeply.

When I was working for Origin Coffee Roasters, I was lucky enough to meet the Mierisch family, an Origin’s long-lasting direct trade relationship from Honduras.

It was while working there that I started drinking Honduran coffee thanks to this relationship, and luckily for me, such a great speciality coffee that also won at SCA coffee competition (The Mierisch family is being recognised both UTZ and Rainforest Alliance certified).

Coffee from Honduras grows throughout the country in 6 different coffee-producing regions but, before looking into where Honduran coffee grows, let’s give some numbers.


Honduran coffee was cultivated not until the 18th century, the period during which it was imported by Spanish traders from the Caribbean.

And then, by the 1970s coffee became the first commodity to be exported (since then bananas was overtaking coffee).

Just before the 21st century, the cultivation of coffee in Honduras was literally wiped out by Hurricane Mitch, severely impacting the numbers of coffee produced in 1998 and, obviously, in the following years.

Thanks to the perseverance of the farmers and with the help of the Government and the Institutions, Honduras quickly recovered from those times and now it’s even ranking sixth in the world among coffee exporting countries.

Initially, Honduran coffee was principally cultivated for making blends: then innovation made everything easier for the farmers.

The diversity that this country offers has been key: Honduras has been able to quickly produce outstanding coffee, already being rewarded by the cup of excellence.


Honduran coffee is graded by altitude and it’s classified as:

  • Strictly High Grown (over 1350 metres above sea level);
  • High Grown (from 1200 to 1350 metres above sea level):
  • Central Standard (below 1350 metres above sea level).

Obviously, the more the altitude the better the coffee. As I already wrote in previous articles, altitude has a great impact on the ripening of the coffee cherry. The cooler temperatures help the slow maturation of the cherries, adding complexity to the final cup. And this is the same reason why the coffee that grows under the shade of the trees is the one that helps to improve the maturation process. Also, it helps to create an ecosystem enriching the soil, preventing pests and decreasing flooding.

honduran districts map
source Wikipedia


The cultivation of coffee in Honduras is held mostly by smallholders, which account for about 90% of the total production. Around 70% of the farmers own less than 2 hectares. The country has well managed the production of quality coffee, making Honduran coffee one of the best speciality coffee in the World.

As I said, The Cup of Excellence has recently been awarded coffee from Honduras, which means that it’s ideal to grow excellent coffee.

All the various microclimates and the fertile soil, have made it possible for the farmers to grow different coffee varieties such as Pacas, Catuai, Caturra, Bourbon, Typica and so on. Honduran coffee tends to be processed as washed.

Let’s have a look at the Honduran coffee growing regions.

1 – Copan – 1000 – 1500 metres above sea level

Located west, near Guatemala, the Western coast brings cool temperature. In this region, Caturra, Catuai and Bourbon are cultivated. Usually, coffee from this region showcases distinctive notes of chocolate, caramel and citrus. Acidity is delicate and the body is medium-high to high.

Two harvest season: November and March

2 – Agalta – 1300 – 1950 metres above sea level

Opposite to Copan, Agalta is located on the southwest side of the region. The tropical climate brings tropical, fruity notes. Compared to the coffee that grows in the Copan region, the acidity of the coffee is higher as well as the sweetness.

Two harvest season: December and March

3 – Montecillos – 1200 – 1600 metres above sea level

Southwest close to El Salvador, coffee grows at a very high altitude which brings a complex cup of coffee. Both acidity and sweetness are high with the predominant fruity flavours.

Two harvest season: December and April

4 – El Paraíso – 950 – 1950 metres above sea level

Close to the Nicaraguan border, coffee grows at low altitude. The flavours for the coffee growing in this region can be both fruity and floral. Low in body with pleasant acidity.

Two harvest season: December and March

5 – Comayagua 1000 – 1500 metres above sea level

Placed in the centre of the country, expect complex coffee. Medium-high to high in body, high sweetness and crispy acidity. Hybrids can be easily found as well as Bourbon, Typica and Parchi.

Two harvest season: December and March

6 – Opalaca 1100 – 1500 metres above sea level

Bourbon, Typica and Catuai varieties are cultivated in Opalaca. Fruity and tropical flavours are the most common. Soft acidity and medium body.

Two harvest season: November and February

Just bear in mind that it’s not safe to generalize about the different growing region’s tasting notes. Coffee is hugely impacted not only by its terroir but also by the processing method that will occur, especially coffee that undergoes experimental process.

This comes quite obvious if you have experienced several blind cupping. The experimental ones such as the anaerobic ones, barrel-aged, tartaric, lactic ones and so on will make it harder or even impossible to identify their origin.


Coffee from Honduras has a lot to offer but still has a lot of room to grow. This country’s main challenge is the high rainfall that makes it hard for the farmer to dry the coffee. As regards coffee leaf rust, the country is generally managing the issue thanks to innovation in crop management and air circulation.

That’s all for today. Hope you have now a clearer idea on what Honduras coffee taste as regards the coffee region country. This should make things a bit easier for your next purchase.

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coffeextraction logo monogram



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