The Beneficio San Vicente dry mill works closely with farmers in the Santa Barbara region of Honduras to improve coffee quality. For many of these producers, the increase in quality has afforded them the opportunity to sell to the specialty coffee market, where their coffee will receive much higher prices. In fact, numerous farms working with the mill in recent years have placed among the top scorers in the Honduran Cup of Excellence competition. This particular lot is grown by local farm owner Dionisio “Don Nicho” Hernandez.*
Hernandez has only been growing specialty coffee for two years. This is the first year his coffee was of high enough quality to be produced and separated into a complete lot and imported by Olam. His farm is in one of the newest locations for specialty coffee in the Santa Barbara mountain: Las Peñitas. There is a small population living here, and access to the area is difficult, but the potential to produce great coffee is the same as the other micro regions in the mountain.**
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Honduras Don Nicho, from Stovetop Coffee Roasters in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Las Peñitas , Santa Barbara, Honduras
farm: Beneficio San Vicente
producer: Dionisio “Don Nicho” Hernandez
elevation: 1515 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, patio dried
The aroma coming off my cup is delightfully fragrant. Sweet, bright, and fruity, with scents of dark chocolate, vanilla, dark berries, and citrus.
The first few sips present my palate with a silky coffee that’s on the lighter side of medium-bodied. Up front, the coffee features flavors of bittersweet dark chocolate, vanilla, candied walnut, and a slight earthiness. As it cools, however, the cup explodes like a Gusher—bright and vibrant fruits cracking through the crust. Blackberry, watermelon, mandarin, apple, mango, and black cherry through a clean finish.
I don’t do Best Coffees of the Year lists anymore since I’ve slowed down the amount of reviewing I do here at the Table. However, if I did, Stovetop Coffee’s Honduras Don Nicho would be a clear contender for the #1 spot. And, really, its only competition would come from Stovetop Coffee’s Ethiopia Kochere and their Costa Rica La Cuesta. (On a similar note, I’ve also never given out awards at the end of the year, like the Sprudgies. However, if I did, I would absolutely award Roaster of the Year to Stovetop Coffee Roasters.)
The Honduras Don Nicho was stellar—layered, sweet, bright, and silky, with a lot of dynamics, complexities, balance, and cleanliness. Truly it may well have been the best coffee I had this year, and perhaps the best Honduran coffee I’ve had at the Table, period.
*content courtesy of Novel Coffee Roasters
**content courtesy of Stovetop Coffee Roasters
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