honduran and panamanian roasts and facts
Clubs of America | Jul 19, 2014
HONDURAS SHG OCOTEPEQUE
— VIENNA ROAST —
Honduras has 5.5 million residents, and eight major regions where specialty coffee is produced. Within each of these regions there are towns and specific farms that produce quality coffees that rank among the region’s finest.
San Marcos de Ocotepeque, in western Honduras, bordering Guatemala and El Salvador, was founded in 1838 by gold miners of Belgian and Spanish origin. The small town that today is home to 17,000 people, has long been renowned for its vibrant culture that includes frequent plays, artistic exhibitions, orchestras, parades, and literary events. The town and surrounding area have also acquired a reputation for producing some of the finest coffee in Central America.
Ocotepeque is located between Mount Celaque, the highest point in Honduras, and Mount Merendon and the Rio Grande and Suntulin rivers. The first coffee crops were planted in the late 19th century by European farmers who owned large haciendas in the valley.
As time passed, coffee crops were planted at higher altitudes. Until 1940, coffee was dried with pulp and skin on and was de-hulled with wooden de-hullers that were moved by animals and finished off by hand using screens and natural wind to remove remaining parchment. Today, farmers use modern processing methods along with traditional drying techniques to produce excellent, shade-grown coffee beans.
— HONDURAN COFFEE FACTS —
Annual Domestic Consumption: 150,000 bags
Annual Coffee Export: 1.8 million bags
Cultivated Area: 420,000 acres – 45,000 farms
80% are Smallholders of 24.7 acres or less
Strictly High Grown (SHG), grown between 4921- 6561 ft.
High Grown (HG), grown between 3281 and 4921 ft.
PANAMA SHB BOQUETE
— FULL CITY ROAST —
Panama is located at the southern end of Central America, and was once part of Colombia. Coffee is grown in the highlands of Boquete at altitudes approximately 4,500 feet above sea level. This country’s population census is 2.5 million.
Panama is one of those countries, much like Mexico, that is often overlooked by many specialty coffee drinkers. It typically is not an exotic destination for travel, like Costa Rica or Kenya, and it does not have the recognition of Colombia or Java. Nevertheless, Panama makes some truly great coffee. Two grades of specialty coffee are prepared and exported from Panama. They are Hard Bean and Strictly Hard Bean. Our selection is of the higher grade, Strictly Hard Bean (SHB).
Coffee was introduced into Panama with coffee shoots from Brazil, Costa Rica and Guatemala. As with many of the Central and South American countries, Panama has rich fertile volcanic soil and climate and altitude both of which are ideal for coffee growing. These conditions create a dense, uniform coffee bean that results in a medium bodied coffee with good aroma and high acidity.
As with all specialty coffee, cherries are hand picked at the time of peak ripeness. Much of the coffee of Panama is harvested by the native Ngobe Indians. Each coffee tree is harvested up to five times per growing season to ensure only the ripe cherries are picked.
Careful nurturing, proper harvest techniques and attention to sorting ensure only the best beans arrive to our roaster. Uniformity in size and moisture levels within each batch are critical to successful roasting. Most “bad” coffee is simply that way due to careless processing and sorting. Coffee that is varied in size and moisture level will roast unevenly, resulting in a poor end product.
— PANAMANIAN COFFEE FACTS —
Annual Domestic Consumption: 90,000 bags
Annual Coffee Export: 150,000 bags
Cultivated Area: 84,000 acres – 4,000 farms
Strictly Hard Bean (SHB) and Hard Bean (HB)