Honduras Coffee Trip - plantations, cupping and dry mills
24/08/2011 9:42 AM
Recently we visited the SCAA Exposition in Houston Texas. While we were close to the area or closer than Australia anyway we though an origin visit to Honduras was in order. We flew from Texas into the industrial capital of Honduras, San Pedro Sula.
Firstly we visited the dry mill of Molinos de Honduras. We were happily shown around by Beat Wiederkehr the General Manager of Volcafe in Honduras. It is called a dry mill because they only purchase and process coffee that has already been pulped and dried to the touch by the farmers. The coffee that arrives to the mill is around 55% wet and is then dried (for a few days) by mechanical air driers to a moisture level of about 12- 15%. The driers furnaces are powered by the coffee parchment that the mill removes.
When the coffee is dried to required level it is then either stored in bags in parchment or then hulled and graded. This mill also colour sorts all of its coffee. The sorted and graded coffee is bagged and dispatched.
We then cupped the mills various grades, organics and regional micro lots they processed with their Certified Q Grader Roberto.
After a day at the Mill we took a rather treacherous 5 hour drive to Coban region very close to the Guatemalan border. The rest of the day was spent exploring the town’s Mayan ruins. The next morning we drove the nearest major town Santa Rosa de Copan. We had a quick look around the towns major dry mill and then got into the 4x4 and drove up into the mountainous growing area of the Copan region. We were quite lucky and just caught the end the coffee trees blossoming, which normally only lasts 4 days per year. Seeing a whole valley of coffee trees in bloom is an extraordinary sight and beautiful smell.
We visited numerous farms local pulping and buying stations and spent alot of time in the villages with the local people.
The trip gave me a greater appreciation to where the product comes from and a greater appreciation for the product and the people that grow and work on the farms. Since the trip we have started purchasing coffee from the farms we visited and will continue to help them in years to come.