Mario Moreno - 2021

Mario Moreno - 2021

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    A sweet and impressively balanced coffee from beginning to end, this latest offering from Mario Moreno is immediately inviting, with rich aromatics of cocoa, wafer cookie, and toasted almond. In the cup, we find a pleasing balance of milk chocolate, pear, and black tea flavors that are nicely complemented by an integrated lemon acidity.

    This stellar example of the pacas variety was produced by Mario Moreno, a member of the famous family of Santa Barbara coffee producers that has played an especially significant role in establishing the region’s reputation as the source of some of the finest coffees in Honduras.

    Since the 2005 Cup of Excellence, the Santa Barbara region has enjoyed well-deserved international recognition for being the source of many of the most interesting, complex, and delicious coffees in Honduras. Two key families have been at the heart of this regional fame: the Paz family, who owns San Vicente, the company responsible for milling and exporting the coffees from the region, and the Moreno family, a farming family who has championed specialty coffee and the benefits it brings, encouraging many other producers in the region to begin producing specialty coffee over commodity coffee.

    The Moreno family patriarch, Daniel Moreno, started producing coffee in 1963 following the purchase of El Campo, a plantation that is still in production and now managed by his seven sons: Miguel, Mario, Jesus, Gerardo, Olvin, Mabel and Danny. In addition to El Campo, the brothers inherited their own farms from their father, who divided his farm, El Filo, into lots for each son. Together the Morenos built a wet mill, raised beds, and solar dryers to process and prepare specialty coffee. The family helps and motivates other farmers in the region to produce and prepare better quality by sharing their knowledge and even facilities. There is a palpable eagerness in the area. An eagerness to produce excellent coffee, to get paid well for their efforts, and to continue being considered one of the very best coffee producing regions in Honduras.

    The village of El Cedral is close to the jungle, and as such close to rain. This can make drying the coffees challenging, but it also makes the reward of drying the coffee well all the sweeter (quite literally in this case). The drying, combined with good plant genetics, climate (warm days and sometimes quite cold nights), and soil (volcanic) make for incredibly unique, complex and delicious coffees, unlike anything else found in Honduras.

    Passenger has proudly presented microlots produced by Mario Moreno for a number of years now. This present selection from Mario’s 2021 harvest was produced on the portion of the original El Filo farm that he inherited from his father. This lot was processed in a way that is quite typical in the region: following pulping, the coffee completed 24 hours of dry fermentation at which point it was washed and dried on raised beds for approximately 16 days.

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