Coffee has become one of the most important staples in Honduras. Honduras coffee is the third generator of hard currency in Honduras. It has surpassed tourism and is still growing. It lags behind remittances sent by Hondurans living abroad and in-bond manufacturing. During the peak harvesting season, between November and February, almost one million people are employed to harvest and process this commodity!
Because Honduras is very mountainous, it has the perfect geography to grow coffee. Coffee grows best when planted between 900- and 1500-meters altitude. Most of mountains in Central, Western and Eastern Honduras are within these altitudes. Our tropical climate is also ideal for coffee. Incredibly, most of coffee produced in Honduras is in the hands of small farmers. As such, there are few really large coffee estates or plantations in Honduras. Honduras coffee is the result of the hard work of many families who take pride in producing their coffee.
Despite its relatively small size as a country, with only 112,500 square kilometers, Honduras is the fifth World producer of coffee. The number one coffee producer in the world is Brazil, followed by Vietnam, Colombia and Indonesia in that order.
Best of all, Honduras is also one of the top exporters of coffee in the World. The quality of Honduras coffee has been acknowledged by experts, and many gourmet coffee drinkers are actively buying Honduras coffee. IHCAFE, that stands for Instituto Hondureño del Café, is the coffee authority in Honduras. They provide technical assistance to all producers and help maintain the dirt roads into the mountains open to facilitate the transport of coffee beans to processing facilities.
Many travelers visiting Honduras actively in search for Honduras coffee as a souvenir and gift to take back home. You simply cannot go wrong when you give a friend a pound of good gourmet quality Honduras coffee.
In Honduras coffee growing season is between the end of October and the beginning of February. Lower altitude coffee flowers earlier and is the first to harvest. High altitude coffee is always several weeks behind, thus, harvesting begins as late as early December. Many workers are required to pick coffee berries. This is strictly a manual labor, and the berries must be handpicked. It is a very labor intense job and many members of the family pitch in to participate in the harvest season.
Even young boys and girls, participate. The Honduras school system operates between February and November. This means that kids are on vacation during the most labor intense months of December and January. Thanks to the income from the Honduras coffee, many families can afford to buy the uniforms and books needed for the children to attend class the following year!