How a Honduran Coffee Roaster Is Changing the Game

High-quality coffee is typically made in a traditional process, where the beans are grown in another country, cured or dried, and shipped to a roaster in Europe or America. The beans are then roasted, often ground and brewed in the same place, creating a sense of locality and globality. However, this system has several problems, including a lack of appreciation for green beans and a break in the coffee production cycle that can lead to quality issues.

In Honduras, Spirit Animal Coffee is aiming to change this by roasting the beans they buy directly from Honduras, San Pedro Sula, and shipping the roasted coffee directly to American consumers each week. This approach not only supports farmers and the country of origin more directly but also theoretically leads to more high-quality coffee.

Founders Kathy Iras and Paul Gromek have already shown how roasting in-country has made a difference to the farmers. They have been able to pay above-average rates and work with farmers by roasting and brewing their beans to show them what their coffee tastes like. One farmer even tasted the coffee and immediately had ideas on improving the flavor.

When trying the coffee, the author was skeptical about the quality of the coffee, as roasted coffee is not nearly as shelf stable as green beans. However, after trying several types of coffee using pour-over and aero-press methods, the author found that the coffee was as good or better than some of the best coffee they’ve had. It was low in acidity, with a variety of complex and interesting flavors, and the beans were incredibly well-roasted. The single-origin nature of the coffee allows customers to know exactly where their beans come from and who grew them, making it easier to buy and support a farm that grows the particular coffee they like.

The founders of Spirit Animal Coffee believe that this is just the beginning of a more complete cycle of coffee growing and roasting, leading to better quality coffee. As growers become more aware of the full cycle of their beans, from ground to cup, they are likely to improve their skills in growing and producing high-level coffee.

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