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Honduras Santa Elena

Adalila Argueta

Christopher C.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Adalila Argueta’s coffee farm isn’t what it used to be. It’s better. On-site micro-milling, depulping, fermentation, organic fertilization and coffee leaf rust management, soil pH control, and more, Finca El Naranjo is a gem in La Paz, Honduras. No longer selling cherry to local middlemen, Argueta and family now deal directly with Catracha Coffee, a “social enterprise dedicated to accessing the specialty coffee market for coffee farmers in Santa Elena.”

Their tireless and experimental work makes this month’s Roaster’s Choice coffee an outstanding selection. We taste notes of pear, English toffee, and kumquat in this kombucha-honey processed (you read that right) Catuai and Typica coffee.

The leaves of a coffee plant in La Paz, Honduras.

Honduras Santa Elena has a lot going for it. In addition to the meticulous care put into its pre-fermentation processing, the environmental conditions in La Tejera could not be better. Santa Elena grows at 1,500 meters. At this elevation, coffee develops primary notes of nutty chocolate and citrus with the subtle tastes of spiced wine achieved at higher elevations. Elevation alone, this coffee is a stone-cold stunner, but Argueta takes it one step further. Who could forget a phrase like “kombucha-honey”?

New at La Tejera, coffee is let to ferment slightly overnight on raised beds before being depulped and fermented an extra full day in barrels. Oh, but they’re not soaking solo. A kombucha SCOBY rides the water in each barrel, making for a juicy, citric body in the cup. To get a sense of just how experimental this processing method is, a quick search for “kombucha-honey process coffee” yields two coffees: the first of which is Honduras Santa Elena. After ditching its SCOBY-ceilinged digs, the seeds are dried in the mucilage for another 12 – 15 days. Processing this way, Argueta can forego the washing stage, thus significantly reducing water consumption.

Three coffee producers displaying handmade art in La Paz, Honduras.

Whether it’s a flagship single origin or a wild Roaster’s Choice selection, we start light to see where the coffee sings. To balance it out, we’re bringing Santa Elena to a medium roast, taking special care to highlight that snappy, juicy acidity while introducing a mellowing toffee to the mix. We’re excited to brew it every way under the sun.

A collage all about Honduras Santa Elena.


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