Pascual Reyes Flores has a small farm called El Guachipilin in the La Paz region of Southwestern Honduras, not so far from the city of Marcala to the north and the border to El Salvador to the south. Under 10 hectares of land used for corn and beans, plus about a hectare dedicated to coffee make up the bulk of the property, though lumber trees have recently been planted and the family also raises cattle. Pascual hopes to double his coffee acreage in coming years, as coffee is the main source of income for his family.
Until recently, Pascual’s coffee traded at commodity prices, but Ivan Vasquez, the Q-grader at the mill where Pascual’s coffee is hulled and prepped for export, recognized the high quality and offered the coffee to Royal. As with so many things, attention to detail in coffee cultivation and production can make the difference between “good enough” and “exceptional.” Some of the difference-makers at El Guachipilin are Pascual’s dedication to organic production (he’s also Fair Trade certified), hand-crank depulping, precision fermentation, and a unique drying setup that includes pre-drying on patios before extended drying on raised beds in a covered “greenhouse.” This solar dryer allows the coffee to dry slowly, evenly, and without risk of rain damage.
Pascual is cultivating predominantly the Catuaí variety, a dwarf shrub with copious proliferation throughout the Americas. Originating from a hybridization of Caturra and Mundo Novo in Brazil, the coffee is resistant to wind and rain, relatively high yielding, can be planted more closely together than larger cultivars, and requires some precision in fertilization.
The Pache variety is a little less commonly seen. There are a few different variants, but all originally stem from naturally occurring Typica mutations; some have hybridized with Caturra. The variety was first observed in Guatemala.
This lot consists of coffee of pretty large screen size, roughly 80% above screen 17. The density and moisture are fairly average looking, while the water activity seems to be a little higher than normal.
This is a nice coffee that took to heat well and delivered some very nice cups on the table. PR-0315 is a more gentle approach increasing heat only after the rate of rise dropped below 4 degrees per 30 seconds, which at 6 minutes into the roast, is well into the Maillard reaction. A slight increase in temperature to 2.75 gas carried us through second crack and to the end of the roast. This roast was not received as well as our second roast because of the muted acidity and general flatness in the cup.
Our second roast, PR-0316, was much quicker in total duration and really shined on the cupping table in comparison with notes of milk chocolate, orange marmalade, honey, and apple butter. At the beginning of the roast we increased the gas from 2.5 to 3.0 gas and adjusted the flame down as the roast progressed. Our total duration was 10:05 minutes which was 2 minutes faster than the previous roast, but our post crack development was slightly longer and was 26.6% of the total roast time. The ColorTrack of these two roasts were nearly identical, but the flavor profile was quite different.
For this Honduran coffee, we ended up pitting Chemex against Kalita for the two roasts we had at our disposal. You can see our Chemex brews of each roast: the buttery and more soluble PR-0316 and the sugary, resonant PR-0315. Take a gander and see if you can spot some differences in the way these two roasts extracted.
Not only did two similar roasts of the same coffee bring about different notes on the cupping table, two filter methods brought out completely different sides of this coffee as well. Kalita tended to bring out clear and popping acidic notes in the coffee, and ended up being my personal preferred method for this coffee. Take a look more detailed preparation notes.