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There’s a new kid in town in the specialty coffee industry. The name is Spirit Animal Coffee. The people there purchase, process, and roast their low acid coffee beans on-site in Honduras. Then they ship air-freight to the consumer.
Spirit Animal chooses the top 1% of the crop. It’s coffee consistently scores high points from Q Graders. Get ahead of the curve and find out what Spirit Animal is all about.
What do you get when you combine one of the best coffee tasters in Honduras with a born-and-raised Honduran with a deep respect for the land and an American who found bliss in a Honduran café? The coffee company called Spirit Animal.
This Delaware-based company opened its doors in October of 2020. Within months, it had already garnered buzz in the industry.
Their business model is based on a deep respect for the land and people of Honduras. Growing up in Honduras, company president Kathya Irias witnessed the living conditions and challenges that faced family coffee growers. She also took note of how undervalued the Honduras coffee was in the local market.
Almost half of the country’s population lives in poverty. The people at Spirit Animal have respect for the wisdom and knowledge the farmers have gained over generations. By paying a fair price for the coffee, Spirit Animal aims to raise the standard of living for coffee growers. Their hope is that this then helps boost the country’s overall economy.
Spirit Animal aims to get coffee beans from tree branches to consumers in as little time as possible. This serves to provide the freshest coffee possible. To do so, it streamlined the process and developed its own supply chain.
You can feel good about the product and the company. Spirit Animal never uses pesticides, and it tests the coffee for mycotoxins. Additionally, the beans are organic and GMO-free. The company insists on sustainable practices and their coffees are fairly traded.
Spirit Animal chooses shade-grown coffee from small, independent farms. These farms are located at about 5,000 feet in elevation. The high elevation allows the coffee cherry to mature slowly, which enhances the flavor.
A coffee cherry at the peak of ripeness yields a coffee that has the most sweetness. Spirit Animal carefully selects the best cherries to process for their coffee. It uses special tools to check the ripeness. One tool it uses is a refractometer, which can measure the amount of sugar in the coffee cherry.
Most coffee companies buy the processed beans at the source and then ship the green coffee beans by boat to the U.S. for roasting. But Spirit Animal is not like most coffee companies. This company actually roasts their beans on-site in Honduras. The next step is what really sets them apart.
Once roasted, Spirit Animal sends the roasted beans by air to the U.S. Then, the company sells Honduras coffee directly to the consumer. With its subscription services, it cuts out the middlemen. This also speeds the time from roasting to your cup. This also helps keep the cost down and results in a brew, unlike anything you’ve had before.
Spirit Animal has a focus on sustainability and fair business methods. In addition to paying a fair price, it reinvests profits back into the farms.
Our tasters sampled Spirit Animal’s Catuai / Bourbon. The coffee officially received 92 points, and that was evident in our tasting.
The cupping sample was 9g coffee to 150 mL water. The brew had a rich, powerful aroma. We noted a chocolate sweetness with nutty and toasted marshmallow notes.
The pour-over sample was 20g coffee to 320mL water. The balanced brew had a buttery, full-body, and low acidity. It had a lingering smoky aftertaste of toasted smores.
The espresso shot had an 18.5g dose and a 30g output. The first drip was seven seconds with a total extraction time of 26 seconds.
This yielded a bold espresso with a rich chocolate and graham cracker flavor. Similar to the pour-over, it had a lingering sweet-smoky aftertaste.
In a cappuccino, this coffee held its flavor with milk. The drink had a chocolate and caramel flavor.
As a pour-over, this was a classic cup. When you think of “good” coffee, this brew gave that result.
We felt that this coffee shined best as an espresso. The sweetness of the chocolate notes came forward. It also stood up well with milk without being covered up.
Spirit Animal is very particular about the coffee it chooses. It carries some of the rarer coffee varieties such as Geisha. The company carefully selects and blends the beans to bring you a well-rounded coffee to your table.
The Bourbon variety brings a deep chocolate flavor and sweetness. However, it does not yield as many cherries per branch, which is why the cost is higher. Spirit Animal blended the Bourbon beans with the Catuai variety. The resulting cup is smooth with a jasmine scent and tropical fruit tones.
This coffee comes from Tres Cruces in the Copan region of Honduras. It grew at an elevation of 6,000 feet. This Alejandro Martinez Aguilar micro-lot used the washed process. It carries a rating of 92. Spirit Animal offers it in a medium roast.
Spirit Animal recommends the pour-over drip brewing method. This retains the clean, light flavors of the coffee.
Here, Spirit Animal blended the Catuai with the San Ramon variety. San Ramon has a full body and stone fruit tasting notes. San Ramon coffee plants are fairly common in neighboring Guatemala.
The coffee for this blend also comes from Tres Cruces in the Copan region of Honduras. This micro-lot from Reginaldo Martinez grew at 6,500 feet.
This blend carries a rating of 90 points. It has a jasmine fragrance and tasting notes o, rose tea and juicy tropical fruits. Spirit Animal recommends that you brew this medium roast coffee with a pour-over drip coffee maker.
This micro-lot grew near La Majada in the Yoro region. The IHCAFE-90 hybrid is a cross of Timor Hybrid 832/1 and Caturra. The German Alex Chavez micro-lot grew at just under 5,000 feet.
The brew from this medium roast coffee has a full body with stone fruit tasting notes. The wash-process coffee rated 89 points. Again, Spirit Animal recommends the pour-over drip method for brewing.
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We’ve already mentioned that the folks at Spirit Animal take great care in selecting and roasting its coffee. But they also take great care with its packaging. In addition to buying coffee for yourself, you can also send some amazing gifts to friends and family.
Both of the listings below come in a beautifully handcrafted wooden box. Before they put it in the box, they wrap the bag of coffee in burlap and tie it with string.
If you've never heard of Geisha coffee, don't worry. It's a rare and exclusive variety of coffee.
It originated in the village of Gesha in Ethiopia. It remained obscure until it reared its head in Panama in the early 2000s. It has exceptional quality, known for its almost tea-like qualities with a jasmine fragrance. Tasting notes include orange blossom and bergamot notes.
You might wonder, if it's so good, why isn't it more common? This coffee plant is extremely picky. It needs almost constant tending and is susceptible to coffee berry disease and nematodes. It does not bear fruit until its fourth year, and even then, has a low yield. But the hard work pays off in the cup.
The Patio Bonito micro-lot grew at over 6,000 feet. Unlike most of their coffee, Spirit Animal's Geisha coffee comes from Santander, Colombia. With a light to medium roast, the pour-over brew method retains the sweet floral notes this coffee is famous for.
This coffee blend was detailed above. It has light floral and fruity notes backed by chocolate undertones.
Signing up to receive Spirit Animal’s coffee on a regular basis is easy. When you subscribe, you get priority access to these rare coffees. Because many of Spirit Animal’s coffees come in limited micro-lots, this benefit can get you the coffee you might otherwise not have access to.
You will receive your first bag of subscription-based coffee in a handcrafted wooden box. Additionally, premium and Geisha subscriptions offer you a 33% discount. If you crave the best-of-the-best coffee, that savings adds up.
After your first order, you will regularly receive the best coffee from Honduras. You can choose a monthly or quarterly delivery. By default, the monthly subscription sends one bag of coffee a month. The quarterly subscription sends three bags of coffee every three months. You can choose to receive more bags at a time with one exception. With the Geisha coffee, you cannot receive more than one bag a month.
Whichever subscription you choose, Spirit Animal will send you an email a few days before shipment. This gives you a chance to make any changes. Here is a list of other coffee subscriptions services available on the market.Subscribe and Save
We’ve talked about ratings and points in this article. Where do these numbers come from? The Specialty Coffee Association set up a standardized rating system to determine the quality of the coffee. The ratings of each coffee are set by Q Graders.
To be a Q Grader, you take many courses and pass a series of tests. The Coffee Quality Institute is the certifying body.
A Q Grader might start with some skill courses, such as Introduction to Coffee, Barista Skills, Brewing, Green Coffee, Sensory Skills, and Roasting. Next, you would take the Pre Q Training before finally advancing to the Q Grader exam courses. This process prepares you to pass 22 different tests to become a Q Arabica Grader. As you can see, a Q Grader knows their stuff!
The Graders look at different attributes. They start with the fragrance and aroma. Then as the coffee cools, they look at things like flavor, aftertaste, acidity, body, sweetness, and much more. Some things, such as defects, take points away.
The tester also takes into account what kind of coffee it is. For example, a Sumatran has unique attributes such as low acidity. If the sample does not measure up to what you expect from that origin, it will receive a lower score.
The higher the score, the better the coffee. Coffee that receives a score of 85 or higher is considered a Specialty Grade. Coffee that scores between 80 and 85 is Very Good. Commercial grade is coffee that scores lower than 80.
Yes. In general, Spirit Animal specializes in low acid coffee.
A micro-lot is a coffee that comes from a single farm or group of small farms. One result of micro-lots is that each bean gets more attention. While micro-lot coffee is usually more expensive, it's almost always higher quality. Spirit Animal is dedicated to quality, not quantity.
Your shipping cost is calculated when you check out. Domestic Standard delivery is often free and usually takes between two and seven days. Spirit Animal can ship to U.S. P.O. Boxes and military addresses. International delivery can take anywhere from 4 to 22 days.
Because Spirit Animal roasts to order, it generally does not issue refunds. If there was a problem with your order, please contact their Customer Service within 30 days.
We hope you’re as excited as we are about this brand-new coffee company. There is so much to love. We feel it might be the best coffee from Honduras!
Honduras is a beautiful country, yet the people experience such poverty. Fortunately, the country’s economy is on the rise.
Is it possible that by making a different choice for your daily grind you can actually help make the world a better place? Well, it’s worth a try. And you’ll enjoy some extremely high-quality coffee while you’re at it.