Release #10: Las Nubes Eugenioides Dry Process 2018
Since its inception, the specialty coffee industry has focused on one species of coffee: Arabica. Taking cues from the wine industry, there has been much discussion about varieties within the Arabica species. This is for good reason as plant genetics can have a profound impact on the resulting cup. But again, all of the varieties that the Specialty industry has focused on are variants of the Arabica species. Only one other species of coffee is cultivated for consumption: Canephora - colloquially known as Robusta. Robusta is, generally speaking, easier to cultivate and produces greater crop yield than Arabica. It is, however, also generally quite poor in cup quality. As such, it has understandably been shirked by the Specialty movement, a movement that focuses on the quality and qualities of coffee.
Though distinctly less delicious than Arabica, the specialty industry does owe a great debt of gratitude to Robusta since it is one of two species in the Coffea genus believed to be a parent of Coffea Arabica. At some point in the last 2.5 million years in the south-western highlands of Ethiopia, a Robusta plant crossed with another species known as Eugenoides. During this crossing, a spontaneous genetic mutation took place, during which the Arabica species was born.
Eugenioides is much harder to cultivate than Arabica. It is very low yielding and it contains less caffeine, an important distinction owing to the fact that some species of coffee produce caffeine as a defense to pests (not all coffee species contain caffeine!). The challenges involved in producing this coffee - which of course translate directly to the price paid - are, however, well worth it in our estimation, as Eugenioides is capable of producing flavors that no cup of Arabica we have ever tasted can produce.
In 2018, Passenger was incredibly proud to have the opportunity to roast a small amount of this extraordinary Dry Processed Eugenioides lot from Finca Las Nubes in Valle de Cauca, Colombia. It remains, without question, the most unique coffee we have ever tasted.