Honduras is a major coffee producer and Honduran coffee beans received high scores at the last CoE.
And what about El Salvador? Let’s find out how things are going there

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We at ArtOn Café always follow the Cup of Excellence auctions and events and the successes of the major coffee producer countries. We recently published an article about El Salvador and we will now focus on one of its neighbouring countries: Honduras.

Honduras: geographical features

Honduras is located in Central America and borders on the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Fonseca, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Source: (CIA, 2021)

Honduras is rich in natural resources and its climate is subtropical in the lowlands and temperate in the mountains (CIA, 2021). Notably, the interior of the country is much cooler than the coast, which is quite humid. The rainy season goes from May to October, but it does not affect the whole country equally. In fact the interior and the Pacific coast are relatively dry between November and April, while on the Caribbean coast it rains all year round (Country Reports, n.d.).

The Honduran climate is ideal for growing coffee beans; however, Honduras is still an emerging country in this field and many regions are not well known yet, so most of the coffee produced is simply labelled “from Honduras”, without specifying the region. In any case, Honduran coffees are grown mainly in the western part of the country, at the border with Guatemala and El Salvador (Espresso & Coffee Guide, n.d.).

Honduras use of natural resources. Source: (Country Reports, n.d.)

Honduran coffee: general overview

Honduran coffee beans are generally described as full-bodied, with a sweet and mild taste. Even though it was historically used mainly as a base in coffee blends, it has recently become more popular even as a single- origin (Espresso & Coffee Guide, n.d.).

Honduran coffee is grown between 1,100 and 1,650 metres above sea level and is harvested between November and April. The main Arabica varieties that are grown there are Bourbon, Caturra, Typica, Catuai, and Pacas. The aroma usually has notes of vanilla and hazelnut, while the flavour presents reminiscences of chocolate and nuts. The body is round and, in terms of acidity, Honduran coffee is soft and balanced (Espresso & Coffee Guide, n.d.).

Coffees from Honduras are typically washed and graded according to the altitude they were grown at. More specifically, they are classified as Strictly High Grown, when grown 1,350 or more metres above sea level, High Grown when grown between 1,200 and 1,350 metres above sea level, and Central Standard when grown below 1,200 metres above sea level. Concerning the coffee ratings, Honduran coffees are generally on an equal footing with the neighbouring Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua (Espresso & Coffee Guide, n.d.).

Honduras green coffees. Source: (Espresso & Coffee Guide, n.d.)

Coffee regions in Honduras

Coffee is grown in Honduras in coffee regions which vary in terms of altitude and climate, but which share the idea of tradition and harmony with the surrounding environment and with the local people. Coffee production is in fact the main source of revenue for more than 100,000 families and creates more than one million jobs (IHCAFE, n.d.-a). The geographical diversity of the country results in high quality coffees with diverse characteristics.

Coffee export

Coffee is the main farming product which Honduras exports and it represents more than 3% of the national GDP and almost 30% of the GDP in the farming sector. Exporting represents in fact one of the main elements in the national economy. For example, in 2016-2017 Honduras exported 9.5 million sacks of 46kg each, which corresponded to +41.85% compared to the previous year (IHCAFE, n.d.-b).

Source: (IHCAFE, n.d.-b)

Cup of Excellence: Taza de Excelencia Honduras 2021

Taza de Excelencia, or Cup of Excellence, is the Café de Honduras promotional program. It was launched in 2004 by the Instituto Hondureño del Café (IHCAFE) to promote coffee quality worldwide and to generate business opportunities (IHCAFE, n.d.-c).

After a break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 Cup of Excellence (CoE) event – announced by the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) and the Honduran Coffee Institute (IHCAFE) – marks the 17th edition of the CoE in Honduras (Global Coffee Report, 2021).

The results were impressive: 40 lots made it to the international phase, 15 of which were National Winners while 25 made it to the online auction which will be held on August, 19th (IHCAFE, n.d.-c).

Source: (IHCAFE, n.d.-c)

Of the 25 CoE winners, 17 were from the Santa Barbara region, and 6 Presidential Awards were given to coffee producers scoring at least 90 points (Global Coffee Report, 2021).

One of the most interesting elements in this competition is that for the first time in the Honduras CoE history a daughter and father have been placed in the same competition. In fact, the second place was a natural Typica coffee – which got 90.4 points – from the Lempira region produced by Iris Dariela Carvajal. Her father came third in the same competition, with a 90.35 score for a honey-processed Typica coffee also from the Lempira region (Global Coffee Report, 2021).

From right to left in the front row: The first, second and third place winners in the 2021 Honduras Cup of Excellence. Photo courtesy of Cup of Excellence.
Source: (Global Coffee Report, 2021)

Sample registration closes on Friday, July 23rd for the following countries:

  • Macau
  • Singapore
  • Brunei
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Kuwait
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Bahrain
  • Oman
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • China
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • India

For all other countries sample registration closes on Thursday, July 29th.

Make sure you check the Honduras 2021 CoE results on the Alliance for Coffee Excellence website.

ICO Project concerning Honduras

Following the severe disruption caused by Hurricane Mitch in Honduras and Nicaragua, ICO has launched a project of emergency assistance. The aim of this project is to help rebuild the coffee sector through replacing coffee wet-processing capacity damaged or lost during the hurricane with cleaner technologies which reduce water contamination and are environmentally friendly (ICO, n.d.).

Check the details of the ICO Project on their website.

CoE El Salvador 2021

In this article about Honduras and its Cup of Excellence it might be interesting to add some details about the Cup of Excellence concerning its neighbouring country, El Salvador. We have already virtually travelled across El Salvador in one of our previous articles and we will now see how things are going there with CoE.

The Cup of Excellence and the Salvadoran Coffee Council (CSC) have announced 24 winners of the 2021 edition of the El Salvador CoE competition. The top-scoring coffee is a semi-washed Pacamara variety which scored 91.68 points. All the winners that scored at least 87 points are heading to the CoE El Salvador auction, which is taking place online on the 10th of August. An additional auction of National Winners, including coffees that scored between 85 and 86.99 points in the international judging round, is taking place between the 2nd and the 13th of August (Daily Coffee News, 2021).

El Salvador Cup of Excellence winners Giancarlo Rusconi (left) and Ever Leonel Díaz Pérez at the recent awards ceremony. All photo courtesy of Cup of Excellence.
Source: (Daily Coffee News, 2021)

Make sure you check the Cup of Excellence website to find out all the details concerning El Salvador 2021.


CIA. (2021). Honduras. Retrieved July 16, 2021, from The World Factbook website: https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/honduras/

Country Reports. (n.d.). Honduras Geography. Retrieved July 17, 2021, from Country Reports website: https://www.countryreports.org/country/Honduras/geography.htm

Daily Coffee News. (2021). 24 Winners Named at 2021 El Salvador Cup of Excellence. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2021/06/30/24-winners-named-at-2021-el-salvador-cup-of-excellence/

Espresso & Coffee Guide. (n.d.). Honduran Coffee Beans. Retrieved July 16, 2021, from South American Coffees website: https://espressocoffeeguide.com/gourmet-coffee/coffees-of-the- americas/honduras-coffee/

Global Coffee Report. (2021). Honduras CoE sees daughter and father placing second and third in a competition first. Retrieved from https://gcrmag.com/honduras-coe-sees-daughter-and-father-placing-second-and-third-in-a-competition-first/

ICO. (n.d.). ICO Project. Retrieved July 17, 2021, from https://www.ico.org/project_erehab.asp

IHCAFE. (n.d.-a). Conozca las regiones cafetaleras de Honduras y sus características. Retrieved July 17, 2021, from Café de Honduras website: https://www.ihcafe.hn/regiones-cafetaleras/

IHCAFE. (n.d.-b). Exportaciones. Retrieved July 17, 2021, from Café de Honduras website: https://www.ihcafe.hn/exportaciones/

IHCAFE. (n.d.-c). Taza de Excelencia. Retrieved July 17, 2021, from https://www.ihcafe.hn/taza-de- excelencia/