You have surely heard that high altitude coffee is better than that grown at lower altitudes. But is this true? What is considered high altitude when it comes to coffee? What effect does the altitude produce in the final product?
To start with, roasters prefer high altitude coffee beans. Yes, it is true, experts agree that high altitude coffee tastes better. There are several reasons that make this true. For one, higher altitude provides for a harsher growing environment. This in turn means that the process of flowering and growing of the coffee cherries is slower. The extra time allows the coffee cherry and bean to mature slowly. Coffee, like wine, requires time to achieve its best notes. A longer period to achieve maturity provides for richer, more nuanced notes for you to enjoy.
But there is a second, important reason that makes high altitude coffee better. By growing on the slopes of high mountains, water from rain flows down the mountain, providing less water for the coffee cherries. This means that the coffee cherry in high altitude coffee is smaller. Most of the sugars and high quality of the coffee stays in the bean, instead of being spent on a large coffee cherry!
As a general rule, high-altitude coffee is that which is grown at an altitude of 4,000 feet above sea level. This is equivalent to 1,200 meters above sea level. Coffee grown at this altitude usually offers chocolate, citrus, vanilla or nutty notes. That grown over 5,000 feet above sea level (about 1,500 meters above sea level) may have spicy, floral or fruity notes. In other words, we can certainly say that high altitude grown coffee offers more nuanced notes than that grown at lower altitudes.
It is interesting to note that in addition to altitude, there are other conditions that also add to a slower growth period for the coffee cherry. An important factor will always be whether the coffee is grown in the shade or out in the sun. The sun will always promote a faster, more developed cherry, which will in turn mean a poorer coffee bean. This means that a high-altitude shade grown coffee plantation is the ideal way to go if you are looking for the perfect coffee bean.
As you can tell, most coffee from Honduras is both, high-altitude and shade-grown coffee. This is a winning combination for exceptionally fine coffee with unique notes. Enjoy your Honduran coffee by joining our community at the Coffee Box Club! What a perfect way to start a great day every morning!