From beginning to end, this 2019 offering from Olvin Moreno is balanced, sweet, and easy-drinking. Aromatics of clean cocoa, browning sugars, and vanilla precede an elegant cup offering flavors of creamy chocolate, almond, and black tea that are complemented by a nicely integrated citric acidity.
Passenger selected two distinct lots produced by Olvin Moreno in 2019, keeping them fresh in deep freeze storage since their arrival in the States that summer. This particular lot is a catuaí variety selection from the portion of the original family farm, El Filo, that Olvin inherited from his father Daniel Moreno.
Since the 2005 Cup of Excellence, Santa Barbara has been known as the region producing 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 and have encouraged many other producers in the region to begin producing specialty coffee over commodity coffee.
The Moreno family patriarch, Daniel Moreno, started coffee farming in 1963 with 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 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, including other producers that Passenger has supported such as Jeovany Rivera, 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 the best coffee producing region in Honduras.
The Moreno family farms are located 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’s green buying team was offered two distinct lots produced by Olvin Moreno during the 2019 harvest year. One comes from Olvin’s Pinares plot, a small farm located a short distance, as the crow flies, from El Campo, where all the Moreno family coffees are processed. This particular lot bears the “El Filo” designation, indicating that the coffee comes from the land that was given to Olvin by his father Daniel Moreno when the original El Filo farm was divided. Tasting Olvin Moreno’s El Filo and Pinares selections from 2019 side by side is a fascinating opportunity for comparative tasting. While these two small farms are located in close geographical proximity, they offer quite distinct flavor profiles in the cup. Plant genetics is almost certainly a part of the reason for the flavor contrasts: Olvin’s Pinares selection is 100% pacas, while this El Filo lot offers a rich and balanced expression of the catuaí variety.