Genaro Hernandez - 2019


From beginning to end, this intriguing coffee from Los Tucanes offers concentrated sweetness, dense fruit flavors, and an enjoyably expansive mouthfeel. Look for pleasingly juicy flavors of berries and tropical fruit accented by a creamy marzipan-like richness.

While catimor hybrids, which include Robusta as well as Arabica plant genetics, are not generally known for their cup quality, this IH90 catimor selection produced by Genaro Hernandez demonstrates that hybrid varieties, including some catimor hybrids, can be undeniably delicious.

Since its inception, Passenger’s Education Lot menu has been a home for quality coffees with unique stories that we want to share. More specifically, we look for coffees for this part of the menu that highlight something of historical significance, socio-economic importance, or something of interest in terms of coffee plant genetics. 

This 2019 lot from Genaro Hernandez, a producer from the storied region of Santa Barbara, Honduras made a very compelling case for inclusion for this simple reason: it is a catimor hybrid that tastes delicious. Some readers may already be intrigued and/or confused by the preceding statement, so let’s dig into plant genetics a bit more to see why Genaro’s coffee is noteworthy.

In botany, a hybrid is defined as the result of the cross pollination of two distinct plant species or two distinct varieties of the same species. Within the specialty coffee industry, the term hybrid is generally understood in a narrower way. A hybrid coffee variety is a cross involving plant genetics from two specific species of the coffee family of plants: coffea Arabica and coffea Canephora (also known as Robusta). Put very generally, the motivation for creating these hybrids often boils down to an attempt to pair the desirable flavor qualities of Arabica with the disease resistance and high yield potential of Robusta. 

The hybrid variety planted on Genaro Hernadez’s farm is called IH90 or IHCAFE90. It is a member of the catimor family of hybrids and this particular selection was isolated by agronomists at the Instituto Hondureño del Café or IHCAFE, hence the name. Catimor was originally created through a cross of timor hybrid (Robusta genetics) and caturra (Arabica genetics) and catimor hybrids spread from Brazil throughout Latin America in the 1980’s. While some hybrid varieties possess genuinely stellar cup quality, this is not usually the case with catimors. For this reason, our green buying team was extremely impressed when this particular lot made its way to our cupping table and challenged our preconceived notions with its delightful sweetness and flavor complexity. 

Genaro Hernandez bought his farm, Los Tucanes, from Danny Moreno, a member of a very well known coffee producing family in the Santa Barbara region. Los Tucanes is a relatively small farm of only 1.4 hectares (a little over 3 acres). During harvest, which generally peaks in March, Genaro pulps his freshly picked coffee and then dry ferments it in sacks for 18 hours (this may partly explain the fruity character of this lot). After washing with three changes of fresh water, the coffee is dried on raised beds for a day and then moved to a parabolic drier for an additional 12-18 days, with frequent turning to ensure even drying.

Coffees sourced with unique qualities in mind

Education Lot Coffees are kept in deep freeze storage

Education Lot Coffees are kept in deep freeze storage

Passenger Education Lot coffees are selected to highlight either historical significance, socio-economic importance, or unique plant genetics. Each one tells a story of how coffee producers are pushing the envelope.

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