Coffee Analysis: Organic Honduras Jose Cecilio Rodriguez "Finca El Plan" Honey / by Dan Loughrey

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Honduras is Central America's largest coffee-producing country, but wasn't considered among its best specialty producers until relatively recently. Despite its reputation for producing mild, blending coffees, Honduran producers have very clearly raised the stakes and have been producing some excellent coffees of late. Royal Coffee New York is proud to work with several local cooperatives, and was able to source this lot from our friends at COMSA, a well known organic-only coop, this season.

Finca El Plan is owned by José Cecilio Rodríguez, a third-generation coffee producer. He joined COMSA in 2002, but has been producing coffee without chemical assistance for years before that and has been particularly interested in the use of organic compounds in preventing coffee leaf rust. When the area around his farm was struck by rust, he quickly applied a natural mineral compound to his plants and was able to stave off the worst of the issue, quickly returning to business. Don José Cecilio is extremely involved in every aspect of his farm and is always keeping the final cupping profile of his coffee in mind. "It is always a joy to know that my coffee, that I produce it with responsibility and with a lot of love thinking about the final consumer" he says.

This lot is a blend of varietals, and includes Icatu, Catuai, Lempira and Bourbon. Each of these varietals is known for producing a high cup quality and/or high harvest yields, and most of them are well-adapted to the climates of this region and farm. Finca El Plan itself sits at approximately 1,500 meters above sea level, which places it squarely in the ideal growing altitude for this lot's varietals. Ample rainfall and a favorable microclimate round out the environmental factors that allow Finca El Plan to turn out high quality lots.

The metrics of this coffee aren't particularly extreme, though this certainly doesn't translate into a lacking cup. Instead, an average density and a good moisture content allow for a fairly straightforward roast profile design. Screen size is balanced well between 17 and 18, with a few outliers. Overall bean appearance is consistent, with no visible defects.

Honey-processed coffees benefit from a long, slow sugar browning phase to unlock the sweeter notes that are usually present. We kept that in mind with a longer roast profile here on the IKAWA, and kept the starting temperature low to balance out the density of the bean. Though the bean size is reasonably large, it wasn't big enough to warrant having an overly long roast; the consistency in size helped us keep it short here.

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Given the weather in New Jersey lately, cold brew was a no-brainer for this lot. We aimed for a 1:10 ratio with about 20 hours of steep time, and were rewarded with a bright but smooth cup after a few hours in a nitrogen-infused keg. The coffee does well as a cold brew, with notes of orange, caramel, and milk chocolate.

On the warmer front, the V60 gave us a very sweet cup using the IKAWA roast above, with notes of red apple, butterscotch, and apricot. We went for a fairly fine grind on the EK43, and a slightly more concentrated brew ratio at 1:14. This is definitely a coffee we recommend for manual brewing, as its sweeter cupping notes really stand out here.

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The coffee used in this analysis is reference number 38012 available in our New Jersey warehouse. Please keep in mind that this is a limited-availability micro lot and will not be available for an extended period.

This coffee is a part of our larger Honduran micro lot program, and other lots are available. Contact your trader for more information!