Café Miramundo is produced exclusively on our mountaintop farm above the Copán Valley. We are very proud of our farm, the men and women who contribute to its success, and the rich coffee that it produces. It is an estate coffee that confidently stands alone for you to enjoy.
Estate coffee is coffee grown, harvested, roasted, and packaged all from a single plantation or “estate.” Estate coffee is never blended with coffee beans from other farms. It is a pure reflection of one estate’s production. Though there are variables, the difference between an estate coffee and a non-estate coffee can basically be compared to a chardonnay versus a “white table wine.” The former is made by producing wine from one type of grape from one estate or winery; the latter is made from an assortment of white wine grapes gathered from various vineyards.
While there may be exceptions, there is usually a difference in quality. Like estate wines, estate coffee succeeds on its own merits. In its flavor, estate coffee reflects a particular region’s unique combination of climate, soil, and altitude. Like fine wines, estate coffee carries with it the imprint of its natural environment as well as the experienced dedication of coffee workers who nurture the beans year after year.
Because an estate coffee is coffee from only one plantation – a single, controlled source – it is able to deliver a more consistent level of excellence to the buyer. Like a winery that grows one type of grape for one type of wine, we grow only 100% Arabica beans, hand-nurtured to our exacting standards.
Estate coffees vary as much as the regions that produce them, and they are accountable to the buyer in ways that beans mixed together from many farms can never be. Our coffee is delivered directly from the Copan Valley in western Honduras to you. It doesn’t journey through a gauntlet of buyers, exporters, importers, storage facilities (local or abroad), and is never mixed with other coffees prior to roasting. Is it 100% Honduran, high-elevation Arabica from our farm. E-mail us, call us, or come visit us to taste our coffee or express your views.
Two species of coffee are utilized commercially Coffea Arabica (“Arabica”) and Coffea Canephora (“Robusta”) from which a number of varieties have been developed around the world. These are the result of favorable mutations or of hybridization and have been selected for higher yield or increased resistance to disease in particular regions or climates.
The great majority of Central America coffees are “Arabicas” considered the richest and smoothest in the cup. Varieties such as “Bourbon”, “Catuai”, “Caturra”, and “Catimor” are common in Honduras. The grower selects a variety suitable to the soil, altitude, and climatic conditions of his farm, keeping the market preferences for flavor in mind.
Most coffee in Central America is “shade-grown” meaning that it is produced beneath a protective canopy of larger trees. Shade grown coffees remain in production longer than those exposed to full sun and since their fruits develop slowly are more likely to produce a “gourmet” bean. Shaded farms are more “eco-Friendly” as they provide a natural refuge for both local and migratory birds and are more protective of local watersheds and wildlife.
The shade is adjusted several times a year to assure sufficient sunlight for productive plants while protecting them from damaging overexposure. The percentage of shade required varies with the hours of sun on the farm’s slopes, its altitude, and the average climatic conditions there such as temperature, cloud cover, and rainfall. In general more shade is required on warmer, lower altitudes (600-900 mts) than on cooler higher slopes (1000-1500 mts).
The successful cultivation of Arabica coffee involves an enormous amount of hand labor, often under difficult climatic conditions. Since it is grown beneath the forest canopy and frequently on steep mountain slopes the use of farm machinery is impossible. From planting the seeds, to maintaining the developing plants, to harvesting the mature red beans, everything is done by hand. Machinery only becomes a factor in processing, drying, and grading the beans post harvest.
The work is hard by any standard and done by men and women who have grown up in the culture of coffee production. A serious threat to shade grown coffee in Central America is the migration of many experienced workers to the north. Others who have grown up in softer or urban conditions will not be capable of filling their shoes or replacing their many years of hands-on experience.
Coffee is harvested once a year and the “cafetaleros” live through an annual cycle regulated by the development of the crop. In many aspects it is similar to a wine grower’s yearly experience. Although the monthly timing of various phases of production varies with the individual region, altitude, and local climate the sequence of events is as follows.
The end of one yearly harvest marks the beginning of the next as the coffee plants - after a brief period of dormant recuperation - begin to flower. This will occur 3-4 times separated by an interval of 2-3 weeks. The white flowers flood the farm with a sweet perfume for several days before drying up and falling. The small green base that held the flower will develop over the next 7-8 months into a mature, red fruit normally containing two coffee beans. Since the flowering spans several months the eventual harvest will also as the “cherries” ripen sequentially. On Finca Miramundo flowering typically occurs from March till May.The flowering is followed by extended period of plant growth and development on the farm (5-7 months, typically from June to November on Finca Miramundo) and important work during this time includes:
The harvest occurs over 3-4 month period (typically from December to early April on Finca Miramundo) and may vary a month or so with that year’s climate. The timing is very dependent on altitude as picking begins in late September around the Copan Valley (600–800 mts of altitude) but normally doesn’t occur until December on Finca Miramundo (1100–1300 mts). The beans mature sequentially (even within a single cluster) and are individually handpicked when bright red. To achieve a high quality smooth coffee the inclusion of partially red (or worse green) “cherries” must be minimized. The harvest begins and ends slowly with the central 3-4 passes by the pickers through the farm providing 60-70% of the production and the highest quality beans. While Finca Miramundo employs 12-15 workers throughout the year the number reaches 80-130 during peak harvest.
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