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intro

Intro by Chris Kornman

We’ve partnered with Beneficio Santa Rosa this year for the first time to source some pretty spectacular microlots, and this fully washed Parainema from producer Salvador Reyes was one of our favorites right from the get-go. We preselected a number of these coffees back in April at a Coffee Buyers’ Cupping Table event, and we’re pleased to have them in Oakland after a very long wait.

This coffee surprised us with its delicate malic and tartaric acids, showcasing the softer side of the fruit spectrum with notes of pear and peach accompanied by sweet notes of vanilla, brown sugar, almond butter, and chocolate. The coffee also has a floral component that edged its flavor out above the rest of the pack.

Salvador Reyes operates a medium-sized operation of about 13 hectares in north-central Honduras near the town of Victoria in the Yoro department, perhaps better known for its “Lluvia de Peces” (rain of fish) than for its coffee. Per Wikipedia, Yoro now holds an annual festival to celebrate this occurrence, which coincides with the first heavy torrential seasonal rains. Science hasn’t offered an especially compelling explanation for the phenomenon, but local legend ties it to a Spanish priest who prayed for a miraculous provision of food for the region. So, be careful what you pray for!

Fish falling from the sky or no, Don Reyes has crafted a solid coffee on his farm. About 4 hectares of his land are dedicated to natural forests; on the rest he grows coffee, corn, beans, and avocado. The coffee is depulped and pile fermented in tile-lined tanks for 15-17 hours before drying. Drying takes place under solar canopies for 10-12 days.

Beneficio Santa Rosa is the powerhouse of western Honduras, boasting one of the most state-of-the-art dry mill operations in all Central America. It starts with location. Santa Rosa de Copan has mild weather conditions, which makes for an ideal warehouse location for resting parchment and preparing coffee for export. Copan is the second largest growing region in Honduras, which means Beneficio Santa Rosa is well situated to receive coffee from many excellent sources. Most importantly, Beneficio Santa Rosa has a fully staffed cupping lab equipped to cup through thousands of samples and identify the potential for every coffee that is received. So it should be no surprise that Beneficio Santa Rosa has delivered an exceptional number of “Top Tier” micro-lots for Royal this season.

green

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman

Salvador Reyes’ coffee looks polished and has very respectable moisture and water activity readings. Overall, the size is quite standard EP style prep at mostly 16 and up, and the density is a little below average. Not too much to worry about here.

If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably curious about the cultivar. Parainema is a hybrid, a member of the Sarchimor group (Villa Sarchi x Timor Hybrid) that was selected over multiple generations by IHCAFE (Instituto Hondureño del Café). It is rust resistant, and has an impressive pedigree. Despite WCR’s pedestrian 3-out-of-5 quality ranking, a Parainema took first place at the 2017 Cup of Excellence. I’m a huge advocate of resistant cultivars, and this coffee stands as further proof that just because a coffee is bred for heartiness doesn’t mean it has to taste inferior.

taste

probatino

Roast Analysis by Alex Taylor

For my first roast of this new Parainema from Honduras, I followed what has essentially become my standard first approach to a new coffee. I started my roast at 355F with a low gas setting and let the coffee “soak” for about 40 seconds, at which point I turned the gas up to 3, which is the highest setting we use on the Probatino. I started stepping the heat down around 1:20 into the second stage of the roast, and turning the gas down to 2, our lowest level, just before first crack. Overall, it was a very smooth roast: no unexpected spikes or crashes, and first crack coming right about when I expected it. I didn’t want to change too much for the second roast, but wanted to see how this coffee would react (both in the roaster and on the cupping table) to a slightly more aggressive heat application and overall shorter roast. I didn’t change anything until later in the roast, at which point I left the gas turned up a little longer than before. No drastic changes, but even waiting just about 10 seconds to turn the gas down helped shorten the roast by almost 45 seconds. I had a hunch about how the coffees would taste, but would need to wait to taste them on the cupping table!

This coffee turned out to be pleasantly sweet and balanced, with notes such as milk chocolate, almond, and cinnamon present in both roasts. The first roast had a more muted acidity; it wasn’t necessarily unpleasant, but I prefer a coffee that sparkles! The second roast (with the shorter overall roast time) featured a much brighter, snappier acidity, with notes of white peach, green grape, and navel orange, but still rounded out nicely with a deep, rich milk chocolate note. Keep this in mind if you’re hoping to maintain these pleasant fruit notes in your roasts of this coffee; a slightly shorter than usual roast should help preserve them. If you would rather not highlight this coffee’s acidity, no problem! An average or slightly extended roast will help mellow them out. Regardless of how you roast it and brew it, this coffee would be a great morning sipper on a cool fall morning!

 

quest m3s

Quest M3s Analysis by Evan Gilman

Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Quest roasts. Generally, I’ll allow the machine to warm up for 15 minutes until my environmental temperature reading is at least 250F, weigh out 150g batch size, and begin roasting when I’ve reached my desired charge temperature.  Read my initial post here and my updated post here.

I have been curious about this cultivar both from reading articles on how Honduras is planting this rust resistant cultivar that wins at auction, and from our initial cupping of this specific lot in April with Benefico Santa Rosa. Nobody was disappointed when this coffee hit the table!

The roast experience was extra fun this week, because I was joined by our newest barista hire, Nate, as well as James, and a Crown Jewel fan who will remain nameless since I didn’t get a release form from him (sensible chuckle). We all packed into the roast lab, and hovered around the Quest while these wild roasts went down.

This was certainly a nice coffee to roast, too – no surprises and some very predictable roasting. With my regular program of starting off with the fan on full, turning off at turning point, and ramping up right around the end of drying stage, I was able to achieve my planned roast of this coffee. Dropping this coffee right around 7:21 / 405F after 1:22 of post-crack development brought out serious sugars and dark chocolate complexity. Liquid flan with a touch of lime, and a very interesting floral note that I just couldn’t put my finger on (this came out especially strong on cooling).

I could see this coffee being used for espresso, but I think that the subtle floral notes here may be lost with that preparation method. Follow along with Alex below, and check out his Stagg X filter brews!

brew

Brew Analysis by Alex Taylor

After tasting this coffee on the cupping table, I felt confident that it would make a delicious brew with any of my fairly standard recipes: something along the lines of 1:16, 3-4 minute brew time, etc. I often find that some of the most pleasant surprises happen closer to the “extremes”, so I decided to try two brews here with brew ratios that I ordinarily wouldn’t choose for a coffee like this one. Best case scenario, the coffee surprises me and I have something unusual and delicious; worst case scenario, I bet this would still be pretty tasty. I used the Stagg X brewer from Fellow for both brews, following a 1:14 brew ratio for my first brew and a 1:18 ratio for my second. Typically, 1:14 is a good bit stronger than I prefer my coffee, and 1:18 winds up being a little too weak for my tastes. Those two factors aside, I didn’t change much else here; I didn’t want to go completely off the rails.

The first, stronger brew was quite nice! It boasted a juicy, complex acidity with notes of lime, pear, grape, and peach. And throughout the cup was a smooth and rich milk chocolate base note that coupled quite nicely with the coffee’s gentle floral finish. The second cup, with the 1:18 brew ratio, had many of the same tasting notes, but with an overall crisper body and a shorter, cleaner finish. We tasted white peach, green apple, grape (chardonnay), brown sugar, pecan, and cocoa. I think both brews could have been improved, but we all agreed that these cups were delicious just the way they were, too, which indicates that this coffee can perform well under a variety of brew methods. So whether you’re looking for something to make a delicate afternoon pourover or you’re groggily fixing yourself a French press in the morning, this could be the coffee for you.

Origin Information

Grower
Salvador Reyes
Variety
Parainema
Region
Victoria, Yoro, Honduras
Harvest
November - March
Altitude
1450 meters
Soil
Clay minerals
Process
Fully washed, 15 to 17 hour fermentation and 10-12 day dryed in the sun
Certifications

Background Details

Beneficio Santa Rosa is the powerhouse of western Honduras, boasting one of the most state-of-the-art dry mill operations in all Central America. It starts with location. Santa Rosa de Copan has mild weather conditions, which makes for an ideal warehouse location for resting parchment and preparing coffee for export. Copan is the second largest growing region in Honduras, which means Beneficio Santa Rosa is well situated to receive coffee from many excellent sources. Most importantly, Beneficio Santa Rosa has a fully staffed cupping lab equipped to cup through thousands of samples and identify the potential for every coffee that is received. So it should be no surprise that Beneficio Santa Rosa has delivered an exceptional number of “Top Tier” micro-lots for Royal this season. Salvador Reyes cultivated and harvested this micro-lot on his 23-acre farm called Monte Gerizim located in the Department of Yoro. Salvador and his family have been farming coffee for the last  twenty six years. in addition to coffee, Salvador cultivates beans corn and avocadoes. The varietal called parainema was specifically designed for Honduras through IHCAFE and has proven itself with 2 first place finishes in recent Cup of Excellent auctions in Honduras. Salvador uses his own micro-mill to process harvested cherries, which allows for meticulous care in sorting, depulping, fermenting, and drying the coffee on raised beds.