The coffee growing region of Copán, high in the western mountains, earns the label “‘Strictly High Grown” (SHG). Because coffees at these elevations ripen slower, they are denser and concentrated in flavor as well, making them candidates for the specialty coffee market.
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, several factors have changed and resulted in an explosion of quality coffees from Honduras and in enthusiasm about Honduran coffees around the world.