Rootbeer Float – Parainema by Grevil Sabillon in Santa Bárbara, Honduras
Producer: Grevil Sabillon
Where: Santa Bárbara, Honduras
Exporter: Beneficio San Vicente
Tasting: rootbeer, creamy and sweet
Herbal and weird (in the best way), this washed processed Parainema, hybrid cultivar, has flavours reminiscent of rootbeer, with a creamy sweet finish. Grevil Sabillon grows and processes his coffee on his farm tucked into the mountains of Santa Bárbara, Honduras.
Herbal and weird (in the best way), this washed processed Parainema, hybrid cultivar, has flavours reminiscent of rootbeer, with a creamy sweet finish. Grevil Sabillon grows and process his coffee on his farm tucked into the mountains of Santa Bárbara, Honduras. We’re lucky to have his coffee for a third year.
Grevil farms alongside his wife Hildaly Leiva, where the both produce excellent examples of Parainema (and we buy from both each year).
It all started in 2010 when a research institution in Costa Rica gave a specific selection of a cross between Villa Sarchi x Timor Hybrid (then called T-5296) to the Honduras coffee institute. The intention with this hybrid was for its resistance to coffee leaf rust and certain nematode infestations (something of great relevance to farmers in Honduras, especially when intercropping with bananas – whose nematodes interfere with coffee plant roots).
Meanwhile, likely around the time that IHCAFE (The Honduran Coffee Institute) was releasing the seeds for farmers to plant, Hildaly’s neighbour Eulogio (known as Yoyo for short) got what he thought was Pacamara seeds from the Honduran Coffee Institute. Over the next few years, Yoyo shared these seeds with his neighbours and they also started to plant them.
In the subsequent years, various buyers would visit, and were perplexed at this ‘paca-weirdo’ (an affectionate colloquial term we all used at the time). It was harvested when the fruit was deep purple, and the fruit looked oblong and pacamara-like to be sure, but the end of each fruit would sort of stick out a bit and other inconsistencies just made us all wonder.
By the time 2015 rolled around, Yoyo would take 1st place with his “Pacamara”, but IHCAFE revealed that it must have been a miscommunication or a typo because this weird and wonderful variety was Parainema after all.
Parainema coffee fruit is best harvested beyond the normal red-ripe colour to where it has turned a deep purple colour instead. Much is the case with other similar hybrid varieties that include some Robusta-Arabica hybrid parentage, such as Castillo in Colombia. Once picked, the coffee fruit is depulped before being transferred to a fermentation tank for approximately 20-30 hours. Over that time the microbes and enzymes present in the tank break down the sticky mucilage left on the seed from the depulped fruit. After the fermentation the parchment is washed with water to remove and remaining mucilage. The washed parchment is then taken to be dried for 14 days.
We brew all our coffees with municipal water that flows from our taps in Metro Vancouver. This municipal source is very soft, low ppm water (less than 30 TDS)
There are many alternative water recipes out there that will produce tasty cups if your water from the tap isn’t giving you good results. A good place to start is 1/2 strength Third Wave Water of around 60-70ppm (0.16g.-0.2g./L of TWW powder).
We make an effort to taste our coffees in a variety of ways, but mostly use cupping, V60, and Kalita 155 brews as our main ways of quality control and dialling in roast profiles. Our filter recipes can be found in our Journal here:
Roasted with filter coffee in mind, so expect shots that are lighter in body and brighter in acidity than your typical espresso profile.
Parainema as a variety can be a difficult beast to tame when it comes to espresso. It tends to be not very balanced with a pretty intense and sharp acidity, and seems to require a much finer grind than our other coffees when aiming to keep shot times the same. If you like a challenge this can be a rewarding experience as straight espresso when you get it right.