There’s something called the Strictly High Grown (SHG) grade for coffees in Honduras. As you’ve probably guessed, it refers to coffees grown at a relatively higher altitude, of more than 1200m.
These coffees are also referred to as Strictly Hard Bean coffees.
Why this is important is that higher altitudes are known to be beneficial to coffee growing because it allows the plant to absorb more of the minerals and nutrients in the soil, which reflects in the quality of the bean.
With six regions in the country contributing to its coffee exports, there’s a lot to know about Honduran coffee.
A country in Central America, Honduras ranks amongst the top 10 coffee-producing countries of the world with a market share of 3.9%.
Coffee was first brought into the country by traders in the 18th century. Then, there were only small farms, and the coffee would be sold locally.
You might be wondering how a country can go from having minimal involvement in the coffee market to becoming one of the market leaders in the span of a few decades.
There are primarily two reasons for this - government support and international demand.
By the 1960s, coffee production began in Honduras. Within the next several decades, a series of laws and developmental initiatives were passed boosting the growth of the coffee industry in Honduras. This meant farmers had better resources, and the coffee could be grown and exported in a lucrative manner.
Furthermore, in the 1970s, the IHCAFE, which is the Honduran Coffee Institute, was set up to monitor and promote progress.
But as with any story, the country’s coffee journey wasn’t without hardships. A natural calamity and an industry crisis later, Honduras eased into a prosperous period of its coffee production.
With favourable growing conditions and external driving factors, nothing would’ve prevented the country from rising to the top. Today, coffee production accounts for a significant percentage of exports and contributions to the GDP.
Honduras has been hosting and participating in the Cup of Excellence competitions for years. Over time, many of their coffees have earned recognition in these events.
The coffee grading system in Honduras is quite an interesting one. The quality of coffee is determined by where the coffee is grown.
There are three classifications - Strictly High Grown (SHG), High Grown (HG), and Central Standard (CS).
The Strictly High Grown coffees are soft-bodied with a creamy finish, the High Grown coffees are smooth and could have citrus, nutty flavours. Whereas the Central Standard coffees are milder and don’t have as intricate of a flavour profile.
- Traditionally, coffee in Honduras is made black and with a lot of sugar. It’s now that the population is adapting to international coffee culture in terms of its cafes and coffee options.
Honduran coffee is typically made of arabica beans. It is known to have a sweet aroma and taste. Those who enjoy coffees with a medium body and a balanced acidity should definitely try Honduran coffees.
The range of flavours you’ll find includes citrus, nut, and chocolate.
Considering that there are six regions in Honduras where coffee is grown, they each have distinct nuances. In coffees from Opalca, you’ll find tasting notes of berries and grapes (basically, fruity tasting notes).
On the other hand, Copa is a region that is famous for its chocolatey coffees.
There are also options based on acidity. Coffees from Comayagua and Montecillos have a lively acidity. While the others tend to be more balanced.
Want to know more about other coffee-producing countries? We have briefly explored coffees from Indonesia, Costa Rica, and Vietnam too in our previous blog posts.You can also take a culinary tour of some of these countries with our high-quality single origins.