Hildaly Leiva and Grevil Sabillon are part of a pretty magical crew, tucked into the slopes of Santa Barbara National Park, who planted a coffee variety that turned out to be something else completely. A happy accident.
It all started in 2010 when a research institution in Costa Rica gave a specific selection of a hybrid Villa Sarchi x Timor Hybrid (then called T-5296) to the Honduras coffee institute. This variety is resistant 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). Parainema is the name of this particular strain.
Meanwhile, likely around the time that IHCAFE (The Honduran Coffee Institute) was releasing the seeds for farmers to plant, Grevil’s neighbour Eulogio (known as Yoyo for short) got some Pacamara seeds from the Honduran Coffee Institute. Over the next few years, Yoyo shared these seeds with his neighbours and they also started to grow.
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 what he originally thought was Pacamara, but IHCAFE revealed that it must have been a miscommunication or a typo because this weird and wonderful variety was Parainema after all.
Hildaly and Grevil both do a great job with this expression of Parainema – with loads of tropical chocolate and rootbeer-like herbal flavour, we’re calling this one Rootbeer Float for a reason.
A bit of history of this coffee, courtesy of Hildaly,
“My dad was a coffee producer, so I grew up watching how a farm was managed. I learned a lot about how to manage a farm and I assisted doing a lot of things, from picking cherries to planting nursery plants. 10 years ago, I had the opportunity to buy my own land to plant coffee (I did not know anything about special coffee at the time), a relative of mine gave me a Catuai seed and I made the nursery and I planted it, but this farm did not last me long since in 2011 a strong outbreak of a disease came across the country that we did not know, rust. Then a neighbor offered me seed of a new variety that was of good quality and had won cup of excellence in 2015 (Eulogio Martínez was the first in the area to have Parainema coffee); So I planted almost the entire farm with Parainema and 2 years later a friend helped me take a sample of my coffee to the laboratory of the Exportadora San Vicente and there they helped me offer it to buyers and since then I have a better market for coffee from my farm.”