Crown Jewel Honduras Santa Elena Adalila Argueta Honey CJ1504 – 29595 – SPOT RCWHSE

Position Spot

Boxes 0

Warehouses Oakland

Flavor Profile Lemon, pear, green apple, brown suger, milk chocolate

Please Note This coffee landed more than 8 months ago.

Out of stock


This is an experimental Kombucha-fermented honey coffee from Santa Elena, Honduras, produced by Adalila Argueta in conjunction with the Catracha Coffee Project. 

The flavor profile is sweet, balanced, and subtly complex with predominant flavors of pear, milk chocolate, Meyer lemon, and green apple. 

Our roasters recommend stretching the roast a bit, particularly during color change, to accent sweetness and body. 

When brewed our baristas found the coffee responds well to a fine grind, brewed on a flat-bottom brewer, and a high TDS. 

Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman 

Catracha Coffee farmers have been dabbling at honey process coffees for a few years now, and this effort from Adalila Argueta really nails the flavor profile. It’s an immensely approachable coffee that has a surprising amount of subtle complexity to it. 

Our tasting notes tend to center around a bright but balanced acidity profile, characterized mostly by malic acid group fruit flavors such as apple, pear, and peach. There’s some good support from sweet Meyer lemon citrus and a smattering of more tropical fruits like kumquat and dried mango. There’s a soft and comforting milk chocolate backdrop, with adjacent hints of toffee and caramel. 

What I think might be most remarkable about this coffee is that the unconventional processing methods, including using a kombucha starter culture for a light fermentation, does not result in the kinds of wild, untamed flavors we sometimes see in experimental methods. What it definitely does contribute is an elegant thoughtfulness to this eminently drinkable cup. 

Source Analysis by Mayra Orellana-Powell 

Adalila Argueta has a 2-acre farm called El Naranjo in the community of La Tejera where she lives. In prior years, Adalila has sold her family’s coffee in cherry to the local middleman. For the last two years she has been working with Catracha Coffee. During this time, she has improved farm management practices using lime to control the pH of the soil, fertilizing with organic compost, and spraying organic fungicides to control levels of leaf rust. These actions have improved the health of her farm and the quality of his coffee production. Adalila has also learned to process coffee using her own micro-mill so that she can depulp, ferment and dry coffee before delivering it to Catracha Coffee. 

Adalila follows a strict processing protocol, which includes hand sorting to remove under ripe cherries and floating cherries to remove damaged and less dense beans. She also allows cherries to ferment slightly in the cool night air on raised beds before depulping the next day. This year, Adalila fermented the depulped coffee for 24 hours in barrels with water and Kombucha SCOBY covering the top of the slurry. After fermenting, she placed the coffee on raised beds to dry in the sun with the mucilage still attached to the seeds. The processing strategy maintains the same clean crisp acidity as a washed coffee with an additional fruit forward aroma and flavor. The process also lets Adalila skip the washing stage and significantly reduce water consumption. Adalila’s farm has several different kinds of shade trees including Diphysa Americana (Guachipilin), Sweet Gum, (Liquidambar), and Inga (Guajiniquil). The farm also has a number of fruit bearing trees including several varieties of bananas, avocado, orange and mango trees. 

Mayra Orellana-Powell founded Catracha Coffee Company to connect her coffee growing community with roasters. Ten years later, Catracha Coffee has gained momentum with more than 80 producers and 20 roasters working together on lasting relationships and a profit sharing model, which has consistently paid at least $2.00 per pound directly to producers. This extra income helps increase each producer’s capacity to reinvest in their farm, and overtime, increase their standard of living. 

The sale of Catracha Coffee also creates income for a non-profit called Catracha Community (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit), which invests in income diversification opportunities without taking resources from a farmer’s bottom line. 

Catracha Community hosts weekly workshops for women and youth to learn craft making skills. Like the coffee, the focus is on quality. With the help of talented volunteers, the group has been able to make many beautiful things and sell them through our network of coffee friends. They even have a name for the group: Catracha Colectivo. 

Catracha Community has also established an art residence and studio in Santa Elena to host artists from Honduras and around the world. These artists have been running art classes two days a week for over a year. Every week more than 30 children come and learn art. Art is starting to pop up everywhere around Santa Elena. There are more than 30 murals along the streets of Santa Elena, in people’s homes, and at many schools. 


Green Analysis by Chris Kornman 

It’s probably worth reiterating here that this is an unusually processed coffee, which is both exciting and can be a little daunting to the roaster. Adalila Argueta has first ripened her coffee cherries overnight, depulped, and then lightly fermented using a kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) starter to inoculate her fermentation. The lightly fermented coffee is then dried without washing on raised beds. 

Catracha coffees are carefully monitored during drying and always arrive in great condition. This lot is no exception, with a moderate moisture, ideal water activity, medium density, and fairly wide screen size spread, consistent with regional standards for European Prep (EP). 

You can expect this coffee to behave a little differently in the roaster as a result of all this, my gut instincts would expect you to need a gentler heat approach overall and to probably think about drawing out the Maillard reactions and entering first crack with a lower than average RoR, but you should check the roaster notes to confirm the various experiences on our different roaster types. 

Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Doris Garrido

A Catracha coffee has arrived, a Honduras honey process from the producer Adalila Argueta. Before the first proper roast, we do green grading, sample roasting, and cupping, and then get ready for the first roast trial. As I have said many times, I’m lucky to work with amazing professionals and learn from them and their experience, I’m saying this because after roasting many African coffees I was in the need of some help to roast this coffee from Honduras, also I must mention that Catracha is a project we are close to here at Royal and I wanted to do it right.

I did a little research, reading some Catracha past crops roast analysis and after having some conversations with Chris Kornman and Evan Gilman, I came up with the plan of doing a longer roast, with a gentle start, longer Maillard, and slightly longer post development. In theory that was a perfect plan, in the cupping table, Evan’s Bullet roast was my favorite. I was expecting a little more body and less of that vegetable note that wasn’t on the sample roast, and it made me think that my plan was good, but I didn’t perform as I thought.

I started a 5.5lb batch at 421F/ 85% gas, I spent 4:21 in the drying phase and 3:42 in yellowing. I started reducing my gas at 3:00 to 60% and a few seconds later to 30% that was at 3:36 and from there I had enough power to end the roast. The plan of stretching the Maillard didn’t work as I thought, my gentle start wasn’t as I imagined, I would suggest a lower charge, and maybe slightly lower gas settings. The highest rate of rise I reached was 49/60 seconds which I believe is a little high, probably 40 as the highest in order to stretch Maillard a little bit more. I used air 50% at 321F, and 100% at 350F. That helped a lot in keeping the coffee clean, which was great, and also helped to slow the roast as I was trying to have a longer yellowing phase and I was running a little fast. As for development, I leave the coffee for 1:25 and drop it at 396F. For sure I know now that a little longer post-development would improve the taste.

Here are the tasting notes: clean finish, maple syrup, peach marmalade, chocolate, milk chocolate, raisin, sour orange, tart fruits, thin body, tea-like, some vegetable taste as it is cooling.

In the end, stretching the roast for this coffee would do great, what I did here ended on a tasty cup of coffee, and compared with Evan’s roast, he did a longer development in Maillard, and that in my opinion was noticeable on the body and sweetness of this coffee.

Aillio Bullet R1 IBTS Analysis by Evan Gilman 

Unless otherwise noted, we use both the site and Artisan software to document our roasts on the Bullet. You can find our roast documentation below, by searching on, or by clicking on the Artisan links below.  

Generally, we have good results starting our 500g roasts with 428F preheating, P6 power, F2 fan, and d6 drum speed. Take a look at our roast profiles below, as they are constantly changing! 

Santa Elena returns to the Bay Area and beyond! At long last, we have coffees from our friend and coworker Mayra, who through her incredible work brings us consistently delicious (and yet always improving) coffees from her neighbors in Honduras. Year after year, I feel lucky to be able to roast these coffees because they are generally all purchased before they even hit our warehouse. One or two slip past the gates, however, and this year’s lot from Adalila Argueta is a new one to my ear, and palate.  

Coffees from Santa Elena and the Catracha Project are always some of the densest and most consistently selected coffees we get from Honduras. There’s a middling spread to screen sizes in this coffee, so I did expect resistance from multiple angles as I dropped this coffee into the roaster. Still, I didn’t hit this one with quite as much heat as I have been with the ridiculously dense Kenya and Ethiopia coffees I roasted this week.  

Charging at 437F, P8 power, and F1 fan swiftly ramped up to F3, I started this coffee off with enough power to get a maximum RoR of 32.5F/min. It was at this peak RoR that I reduced heat application to P7 and increased fan speed to F3, and kept it there for a good long time. At 6:30 / 365F, coming up on First Crack, I increased fan speed to F4, and lowered heat application to P5 for 30 seconds, really anticipating that typical pre-First Crack spike in RoR. After those 30 seconds, I increased fan speed once again to F5, but also returned heat application to P6 to even out any crash that might happen. Just after first crack, I reduced heat application back to P5 but there was a spike in rate of rise anyhow, just as I was about to drop the coffee. Drats! But would it change the flavor in the cup? 

Turns out, not so much. On taking in the fragrance there was definitely a toasty note, but that didn’t come through in the cup at all. Bright limey citrus, sweet tootsie roll chocolate and carob notes, juicy green apple, and a touch of something I’d describe as ‘sparkliness’ made this an incredibly satisfying cup. This coffee successfully exemplified everything I’ve come to love about Catracha Project coffees and would make for an incredible single origin offering or, at a darker roast level than the one on display here, a deliciously sweet espresso. Thank you, Sra Argueta!  

Ikawa Pro V3 Analysis by Isabella Vitaliano 

Our current Ikawa practice compares two sample roast profiles, originally designed for different densities of green coffee. The two roasts differ slightly in total length, charge temperature, and time spent between color change in first crack. You can learn more about the profiles here. 

This Honduras coffee has such a beautiful background story and it preforms just as beautifully in the cup. Unfortunately, for this round of cupping I made the rookie mistake of not checking the grind size before throwing in a bunch of coffee. But alas, the analysis must go and with the help of Chris we were able to decipher our favorite roasts.  

The HD roast brought out a more delicate version of this coffee with notes like lemon, floral, apple butter and some slightly savory notes.  

Our LD roast developed some different flavors like apricot, berry, cashew butter, date, orange, and mild grape apple. This is a very mild coffee and there was some difficulty discerning the flavor notes with the coarser grind.  

Chris and I preferred different roasts for this round. Chris went with the more delicate version; our HD roast and I favored the LD roast. Those tasting notes were just too reminiscent of the fall time for me not to prefer it! If you are able to snag a bag of this coffee, reach out and let us know what you decide! 

You can roast your own by linking to our profiles in the Ikawa Pro app here: 

Roast 1: Low Density Sample Roast 

Roast 2: High Density Sample Roast   


Brew Analysis by Joshua Wismans 

Coffees with experimental processes always bring such creative energy to the analysis process. For this kombucha inoculated honey process coffee from Adila and Catratcha, we wanted to bring that same spirit to the brew analysis. While we usually end up finding a place within the “recommended guidelines” of traditional pour-overs, this coffee encouraged us to swing for the fences. 

My first impulse for this coffee was a finer grind with our usual coffee to water ration of 1:15.79. This yielded a TDS of 1.53, and gave us a cup that showed great apple and citrus acidity and almond butter sweetness. We used the St. Anthony’s F70 brewer to highlight the body this coffee has in spades.  

We usually find a sweet spot with our TDS around the low 1.4’s, so my inclination was to coarsen up the grind, since this coffee appeared to be more soluble than expected. Using the same recipe and brewer, but coarsening the grind to 10 on the EK43s, we quickly realized that conventional wisdom did not apply to this coffee. While did get a lower TDS at 1.41, the resulting brew was a bit too bitter, with walnut and quinine being some noted tasting notes. The body and sweetness of the first brew were also subdued.  

We figured since the first brew had more of what we liked about this coffee, we’d just take it further in that direction. We brought the grind even finer than our first brew, down to an 8 on the EK43s. This yielded a TDS of 1.58 and brew that showcased the exceptional attention to detail in this experimental process. The pear and Meyer lemon married with fudge, toffee, and berry jam. This coffee is meant to be big and bold. 

We found this coffee responds well to a fine grind, brewed on a flat-bottom brewer, and a high TDS.