Jorge Hernandez - 2019 - Copa Suaceña 5th Place


Graham cracker, dried mango, and cooked apple aromatics introduce a cup brimming with enticing flavors of tropical fruit, cooked blackberries, and a sweet citrus note reminiscent of lemon drop candy.

Jorge Hernandez’s farm, Finca El Bonbom, is located near the hamlet of Divino Niño, the namesake of the producer group of which he is a member. While still a relative newcomer to specialty coffee production, Jorge Hernandez submitted a selection from his 2019 harvest that was awarded 5th place at the inaugural Copa Suaceña: a regional cupping competition organized to highlight the very best coffees produced by individual members of two producer groups in southern Huila, Colombia that Passenger has been buying from for the past two years.

Jorge was awarded 5th place in the competition for this juicy field blend of the Colombia and Caturra varieties that he produced on his spectacularly named farm Finca El Bonbom. His competition lot was processed in a typical manner for the community: dry fermentation for 24 hours following pulping, and then 15-20 days of drying time. When asked about his goals for the farm, Jorge’s answer was simple and immediate: “I wish to sell more coffee to build a better future for my children.

2019 Copa Suaceña

In December, 2019 two members of Passenger’s green buying team travelled to southern Huila, Colombia to participate as judges in the inaugural Copa Suaceña: a regional cupping competition, organized by our friends and partners at Osito Coffee, that was created to identify and recognize the highest quality coffees produced by a community of farmers that Passenger has been buying from for the past two years.

Producer, Jose Cuellar

To qualify for inclusion, coffees submitted to the competition had to meet strict physical analysis criteria (between 10-10.8% moisture content; between .48-.58 water activity, yield factor of 90 or less), and had to be produced by members of one of two producer groups: La Cooperativa Divino Niño del Horizonte and ASOCAFOR. Since 2018, this community of coffee producers has been one of Passenger’s foundational partners and their coffees are featured all year round on our menu under the name Divino Niño.

Evan and Carl, pictured with Jose Jadir Losada of Osito (left) and Edilma Polania Bermeo and her family (she is the managing director of The Cooperativa Divino Niño

Given the consistently high quality of the community blend that these producers have delivered over the last couple years, it was a unique pleasure to have the opportunity to taste select coffees from individual members of the group for the first time on the competition cupping table. Over the course of three days, the small panel of judges blindly evaluated a carefully screened selection of 24 lots, narrowing the entries down to the top 10 coffees, and then re-cupped the top 10 again on the last day to ultimately determine the final ranking.

German Cordoba with his wife Adeisa González

German Cordoba's Yellow Tabi

The purchase of a number of competition lots from the Copa Suaceña is an exciting development within the broad sourcing partnership that Passenger has been gradually building over time with the producers of Divino Niño and ASOCAFOR. The first step was the addition of the Divino Niño blend to Passenger’s Foundational Menu, making it feasible for us to pay fixed prices on an on-going basis for the vast majority of the 86+ coffee that these 34 small farms produce annually. The second step in our pursuit of a deeper partnership centered on the creation of a home for coffees produced by the same farmers that achieve slightly lower quality scores (in the 84-85 pt. range). By founding our sister roasting company Necessary Coffee we were able to start buying these coffees from Divino Niño and ASOCAFOR as well.

At Passenger we are committed to the idea that the pursuit of a truly viable specialty coffee supply chain requires that coffees of all quality grades - not merely the highest scoring microlots - be bought at a fair price. While still at an early stage of development, our evolving partnership with the producers of Divino Niño is a project that fills us with pride and hope for the future.