Honduras Isaias Fernandez
Santa Barbara, Honduras, is a fascinating coffee-growing region. It is home to many Cup of Excellence winners, San Vicente Exporters, as well as microclimates, unlike any other coffee-producing country. We visited our friend Benjamin Paz at San Vicente for the first time this year and were blown away by his hospitality and the quality of the coffees. Each time a producer drops off coffee at the mill, it's logged as an independent 'day lot.' That lot is then roasted and cupped so they can assign sensory information to the lot. We spent three days cupping at San Vicente, each sample only represented by a day lot code, making the cupping anonymous. Table after table the coffee that stood out was produced by Isaias Fernandez.
Each delivery from Isaias was dynamic, sweet, and shiny. Benjamin reached out to Isaias to coordinate a visit to La Fincona. Isaias greeted us with enthusiasm, walking with us to the top of his farm, which overlooks Lago de Yojoa (Lake Yojoa) and the rest of the Santa Barbara mountain range.
At the moment he is growing Pacas, Parainema, and a bit of Bourbon and Gesha. Each variety is picked and processed on-site with Isaias' new micro-mill connected to his house. Isaias is one of the few producers that do a pre-ferment on his coffee for 48 hours before depulping, creating a semi-anaerobic environment. After cherry is depulped, it is then fermented for another 48 hours before it is dried on parabolic beds.
Isaias Fernandez's commitment and vision for producing coffee are apparent in the quality of his microlots, and he is hopeful of improving each harvest.
Parainema is becoming a very popular variety to see in production in Honduras. Toted as a rust-resistant Sarchimor, this variety commonly appears in the top of the Cup of Excellence and fetches high prices. Created by IHCAFÉ, this cultivar was selected for its resistance to disease as well as its cup quality and high yield. Typically rust-resistant varieties are touted as lower quality, Parainema seems an exception to the rule.
Wanna know more about how we brew? Then visit our brew methods page cause "this is how we brew it" (think Montell Jordan when reading that last part).
FILTER – Stagg [X]
20g Coffee : 300g Water 208°F
~3:00 Drain Time
Parainema is a common varietal in Honduras due to its high-quality flavor and resistance to disease. So, it's new to us, but not new. You can expect to see more of it if we keep getting cups like this. We loved the Stagg [X] for this coffee because it was a little bit faster than a Kalita Wave, but with similar body and brightness. The cup is very sweet with notes of honey and black tea and also bright lemon and red currant. If this coffee drains too quickly, under-extracts, it tastes woody and tart. If it drains too slowly, over-extracts, it tastes like pithy lemon and is bitter and drying.
ESPRESSO – Modbar EP
Brew Temp: 198°F, Line Pressure: ~3.5 bars, Max Pressure: 9 bars
Pressure Profile: 0 sec to 4 sec - line pressure, from 4 sec till done - 9 bars
18.5g in : ~45g out @ ~26s
This coffee is very soluble. The lower dose is because we found the shot a little (to a lot) overpowering on the palate. Look for lemon sweet tea and cherry when dialed-in. We especially enjoyed this shot in an oat milk cappuccino. If this coffee pulls too quickly, under-extracts, it tasted very tart and salty. If this coffee pulls too long, over-extracts, it was kind of like citrus cough syrup.
Honduras Isaias Fernandez
This Relationship Coffee we purchased with the help of Collaborative Coffee Source, as well as Benjamin Paz of San Vicente. It is a true microlot, built from three separate deliveries made by Isaias throughout the harvest. We purchased six 69-Kilo bags of this Parainema through Collaborative Coffee Source cupping, this at an average of 87 on the SCA cupping sheet. We paid $5.25 ex-warehouse to Collaborative, of which San Vicente takes $0.76 per pound for milling and export services. The farm gate price for this coffee was $3.74.
- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.02/lb when we purchased this coffee.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum price was $1.60/lb when we purchased this coffee.
* We as a company believe transparency is unbelievably important. However, we decided only to list what is shown here because we don’t know where to stop. Do we list the amount of coffee lost in roasting due to moisture loss? Should we list our roaster Mark's salary? The warehouse rent? The utilities? The point of listing things above is not to justify what we charge or what we profit, but to give a realistic snapshot of the industry and how Specialty Coffee can be different than other commodity industries. If you have concerns feel free to email us and I’ll write you back when I’m available.
Relationship Coffee is an initiative we, at Onyx, have purposely created to describe our sourcing and buying practices and how we document them. Certifications like Direct Trade, Fair Trade, and others have impacted the coffee communities in mostly positive ways but also in some negative ways. We find that blanket terms and applying them to a multitude of business models no longer describes what we do.
In reality, every company is different, and we wanted to step out from the mold and create a new set of standards that exceeds in every department from quality to transparency to pricing. The growers, exporters, importers, associations, cooperatives, and other entities are always a set of relationships. To be honest, many are our friends as much as they are our producers and partners. We share information, family news, meals, housing, many faiths, and argue politics. Oh, and we love it. Relationship Coffee for Onyx is the mark of an honest exchange ethos that permeates our company, and we hope it encourages the growth of specialty coffee for the future.
We visited the farm or cupping lab and listened to the producer/agronomist or head cooperative/association to ascertain better knowledge about the culture and practices.
We cupped the coffee, and it scored to our industry-high standards.
We do not buy futures or multiple harvests to ensure that what we cupped for that year is what we serve.
We do not ask for exclusivity from producers, binding their options.
We pay what the coffee is worth. This always is at least double Fair Trade minimum due to the quality we buy, and many times is three to ten times the amount.
We do not finance any coffee. Cash flow is just as important as the final price. Coffee is paid in full upon delivery, and we pay a percentage up front upon contracting.
We are completely transparent from price to logistics to cupping score, to who we work with buying and shipping coffee.
We work to set premiums after a contracted price to incentivize quality and community building. This can be .10¢ - .25¢ extra per pound or community projects such as school supplies in the growing village, sports jerseys, vented chimneys for kitchen fires, etc.