Honduras - Fuerza La Labor - Washed
HONDURAS - FUERZA LA LABOR - WASHED
The end of the 19th century saw the origins of the coffee growing business in Honduras, albeit on a very small scale. It wasn't until the 1950s that coffee approached a commercial scale after the government piled investment into building roads and boosting coffee exports. Previously, the poor infrastructure had restricted access to any economy outside the country itself. By now, Honduran coffee was starting to get recognised internationally. Fast-forward to 2012, the year in which Honduras was invited to join the Special Coffees Association of America, and it was booming. Now, despite recent setbacks with unpredictable weather and leaf rust, it is on the map as a major coffee exporting country, shipping products across the globe.
Much of the coffee grown in Honduras historically was fairly unremarkable and often used as a base in coffee blends, however it has emerged as a force in its own right in coffee reviews in recent years and is often sought after. High levels of rainfall often made it difficult to dry the beans after processing. This has led some producers to adopt both sun drying and mechanical drying, giving Honduran coffees a reputation for being high-quality yet fading quickly. To tackle this, IHCAFE (Instituto Hondureño del Café) has focused its efforts on encouraging producers to explore new ways of drying their coffees. Among these is the use of polytunnels (known as “domos”) or solar dryers. IHCAFE has also sought to improve infrastructure to aid the development of higher quality beans, as well as provide more resilient varieties to fend of diseases. Over the last few years, the organisation has been heavily involved in establishing and marketing the country’s Cup of Excellence (COE) competitions, which have brought greater attention to Honduran coffees around the world.
Coffees grown in Honduras, which borders Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, generally have tasting notes describing them as full-bodied with a sweet and mild taste.
Fuerza La Labor is a community driven coffee, the coffees are chosen from the better cupping coffees from families within the La Labor town in Ocotepeque, Honduras. Originally part of Copan until it was split in 1906, Ocotepeque lies in the western part of Honduras, bordering with El Salvador and Guatemala.
La Labor is part of the Mancomunidad Guisayote, a joint venture between five local municipalites to help alleviate the regional poverty via a focus on infrastructure, the pride and passion they display within the community is exhibited by the investment of their premium earned from producing quality coffee in to a museum at the COCAFELOL cooperative highlighting the history and culture of La Labor town. The coffee itself is named after a play on words, as La Labor translates to Labour, with Fuerza la Labor loosely translating to ‘power to the people’, reflecting nicely on the community-based approach to improving quality and prices.
90% of cherries delivered for this coffee are picked and delivered to the cooperative as cherry within 12-24 hours, for controlled processing, grading, and tasting. This is up from 80% in recent years. It is sorted first as whole cherry, before being pulped overnight and left to ferment for between 12 to 16 hours depending on the weather. The parchment is then washed, in a continuous flow before being passed to the guardiolas for pre-drying, where the bulk of the moisture is reduced, and final drying which is treated as a separate process. The remaining 10% is wet processed on the farm level before being delivered as parchment to be tasted, graded, and selected before being added to the rest.
Lempira, the varietal that shares a name with the department and is significant in Honduras, was until recently rust resistant, so having a mix of varieties on the farms as away of increasing genetic diversity and therefore crop security is important. Ihcafe 90 is a Catura/Timor Hybrid cross with high yield potential, selected by Instituto Hondureño del Café.
Caramel, Chocolate, Lime