Gjermund Damgaard is a Norwegian expat living in Honduras, where his hobby is all things coffee. In this article he lists some of his favorite coffee brands, some of the best coffee in Honduras, you should try.
I live in the Central American country of Honduras, which, to in-the-know coffee lovers, makes me a very lucky man.
Every day I get to live the coffee enthusiasts dream of drinking a fresh roasted, ground, and brewed cup of joe. And when I’m not drinking coffee, I’m smelling coffee. It’s everywhere around me here in the coffee-producing area of Lempira where I live.
If you’re not a true coffee enthusiast, you might not understand the significance of living near where they produce the stuff. Allow me to explain. Coffee gets stale and starts losing its flavor about two to four weeks after roasting. So having fresh, roasted coffee is a special treat!
How my love for coffee began.
I started drinking coffee in my teens to ease the sting of those biting cold (and dark) Norwegian winters. I would sit in the car with the engine on to get some heat, thermos in hand, looking at mounds of snow around me.
My preference was (and still is) black coffee, because I like strong flavors in general. Since then, coffee has developed deep meaning to me. It represents warm memories of my youth… a break in a busy workday… an excuse to meet up with friends… I became hooked.
It’s because of coffee, on a subconscious level, that I found myself living in Honduras.
Like its Central American neighbors, Honduras is prime coffee-growing territory. In fact, Honduras produces and exports more coffee than any other Central American country by far, something that may surprise people.
In 2020, according to the International Coffee Organization, Honduras produced 6,100,000 60 kg bags of coffee. That’s in contrast to Guatemala‘s 3,750,000 bags, Nicaragua‘s 2,650,000 bags, Costa Rica‘s 1,450,000 bags, El Salvador‘s 600,000 bags, and Panama‘s 115,000 bags.
The 6,100,000 bags Honduras produced in 2020 make it the sixth-largest coffee producer in the world, after Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Ethiopia, and Indonesia.
And as far as exporting its delicious coffee to the rest of the world, Honduras is right up there too, as the chart below (showing the top ten coffee exporting countries for the month of December 2020) shows:
Find more statistics at Statista
So if you love coffee in Central America, Honduras is where it’s at.
It’s all in the altitude, you see. Put a mountainous terrain into tropical latitudes and odds are you’ll produce good coffee. In fact, the higher up you grow coffee, the better the quality of the bean.
All this leads to the main point I’m trying to get at in this article, which is this: What’s the best coffee in Honduras? What are my favorite brands?
Well, I love trying all the different Honduran coffee brands and now I’ll share some of my favorite ones below.
I was visiting a place called Lepaera and decided to look for the local coffee, called Papa Chilo, which I’d heard great things about.
Papa Chilo is super localized. Outside of the Lepaera area, I can’t find this coffee anywhere, although their social media suggests it’s available in stores and supermarkets. I guess I need to keep on looking.
The day I was there, it was also difficult to find Papa Chilo inside the Lepaera area. All the coffee shops were closed and there wasn’t a cup of Papa Chilo to be had anywhere. Luckily I have friends in Lepaera who knew where the farm was and where the owner lived, so off we went to find him.
We made it to his house and, much to our delight, he had a stash of coffee so we bought several bags. That’s how I got my first taste of Papa Chilo and it’s still my favorite Honduran coffee brand.
I would describe Papa Chilo as rich but mild, with a captivating smell. If you’re ever Honduras, Papa Chilo coffee is a must-try! I hope you won’t have to schlep over to the guy’s farm to find it.
Another Honduras brand coffee I love is Spirit Animal.
It’s an organic coffee, grown at high altitudes. Spirit Animal is grown by local, small-town farmers, under Fair Trade regulations.
This coffee is famous for its outstanding quality and claims to taste a little like white chocolate on its packaging.
I found Spirit Animal lives up to its claims… it’s super-rich and chocolatey. I have plans to visit the farm soon, to find out more about this delicious coffee.
Finca El Capitan.
A third brand from Honduras I love is from the Hotel Finca El Capitan in Gracias, the main town in Lempira Department, where I live. In fact, I’m neighbors with these guys, but that doesn’t make me biased. They produce great coffee, even if I didn’t know them.
Anyway, although Finca El Capitan is a tourism business, they also produce coffee and honey, among other products. They roast their coffee beans three days a week and I can smell it from my place. Finca El Capitan is a suburb coffee that I drink every day.
You won’t find a Starbucks in Honduras (yet). In Central America, Starbucks is only present in Costa Rica and El Salvador. But we do have a brand called Espresso Americano which is kind of like a Starbucks wannabe with branches all over Central America.
The coffee is good and I like it, and it’s easy to find everywhere, both in the cafes themselves and in stores, where you can buy the brand by the bag.
Even though I normally prefer black coffee with no sugar, when I’m at an Espresso Americano I always end up drinking iced coffee with sugar, cream and a sprinkling of Oreo cookies crumbled into it.
You’ll also find Espresso Americano at any Puma gas station in Honduras, so if you’re driving around and see a Puma, you know you can pick up a damn fine cup of coffee.
Another good coffee I like in Honduras is from Copan, called simply Cafe Copan. You can’t go wrong getting a coffee called Copan, in my opinion. What I like most about this coffee is the bag. It makes a great souvenir after you’ve finished the coffee itself.
Finca Tres Marias.
Living in Lempira, I get a bit biased when it comes to coffee. But there are other great coffee producing areas too, like Él Paraíso for instance.
I got my hands on several bags from Finca Tres Marias in El Paraiso. They make great coffee with different tastes to it like amaretto and pepper. It’s a nice change to drink coffee with a peppery taste. They have a cinnamon-chocolate coffee, too, which I haven’t tried yet. Next time.
That wraps up my rundown of some of my favorite coffees in Honduras.
I hope I’ve whet your appetite for coffee, and I hope some day you can visit this beautiful country and find your own special grano de oro.
Gjermund Damgaard is a Norwegian blogger living in Lempira, Honduras where he runs the coffee blog Coffee Finders.