Specialty grade coffee in Honduras has traveled a long and difficult road. In 1998, just as a small number of coffee farmers and exporters were finding their way into the American specialty coffee market, Honduras was devastated first by hurricane Mitch, and then by the storms and floods of 1999. In addition, most of the country’s coffee is produced by smallholders, and due to lack of infrastructure, many process and dry their coffee themselves, then mix these small lots together and sell to exporters. It sounds neighborly, but the results can be disappointing in quality. That said, cooperatives like COMSA with a dedicated processing mill and meticulous practices have begun changing that: coffees from the Marcala consistently average a higher quality than those from other regions in the country, and coffee from here was the first to receive "protected origin denomination," carrying a characteristic gentle, medium-bodied profile with a brighter, fruity acidity.
The Marcala coffee region contains part of the Lenca Trail, a 76-mile route winding through Honduras’ western highlands, giving a window into the culture of the Lenca people. The Lencas trace their origins back 500 years. Sadly, Honduras is currently in political upheaval, and life for the people there is uncertain and often dangerous. Yet their smiles are genuine, their dedication to excellence real, and their vision for the future carries them forward.