Honduras is the 7th largest coffee producing country in the world with more than 100000 people relying on coffee production for their primary income. Until recently, most of the coffee produced in Honduras was aimed at the commercial market, making its way into various lower grade blends or dark roasts. There has always been a strong focus on Organic farming, and it's great to see incredible small high cup score micro-lots appears from individual producers.
We've selected an amazing carbonic maceration natural from a small 2 hectare farm in the Copan region, north-west Honduras
The farm is owned by Yolanda Arita and she manages the farm with the help of her husband and three sons who are studying agronomy. The farm is very small at just 2 hectares in size (a bit smaller than 4 football fields) and is a mix of coffee and native forest and shade trees. Synergy with the environment is one of their core beliefs and the farm is organic certified.
Coffee is hand-harvested and delivered to the local Aruco mill for processing. Farmers in this area often choose to use a specialist processing facility as they have the equipment and expertise to help them to produce high cup score micro-lots. The mill is located at 800masl where the weather is more stable making it a better altitude for drying coffee.
After delivery to the mill the coffee went through the following process:
- Cherry is washed and floated in water to remove defects
- The coffee is placed inside sealed containers to create a zero oxygen environment.
- The container is kept at a stable temperature of 22-25c and left to rest for 72 hrs.
- Coffee is removed and transferred to raised drying tables.
- Drying takes about 25 days and the coffee is turned every hour drying the day to ensure even drying.
The process of storing coffee cherry in containers before drying is referred to as carbonic maceration. This is a technique that has been learned from the wine industry and causes some very interesting fermentation before the drying stage.
This is a stunning example of the added complexity that can be added through unusual post-harvest processing methods and we've never had a coffee quite like this! If you love bright, juicy acidity then this coffee is definitely not to be missed. Many natural processed coffees have noticeable fruit notes and fermentation but often with a muted acidity. This is most definitely not the case with this coffee and the structure of acidity is more similar to a washed Kenya or Colombian coffee!