Welcome back to the Brakeman’s Feature Program Blog! If you came in throughout December and January, you had the pleasure of trying our previous feature, the Candelaria. Candelaria had tasting notes of milk chocolate, toffee, and red apple. It was delicious and a nice addition to our ever evolving and changing Feature Program! We hope that you, as our loyal customers, have enjoyed our wide range of coffee that we’ve had the pleasure of featuring at our cafe.
Next up for our Feature Program is a new coffee from Hex Coffee, the Javier Fernandez. This coffee comes from a farm named Don Andres #2, which is in the Santa Barbara region of Honduras. It is a washed process coffee, and is made up of the Bourbon, Catuai, Parainema, Pacas, and San Ramon varieties for coffee.
The coffee is named after the farmer, Javier Fernandez. He is a third generation farmer and inherited the farm in 1997. He helped his grandfather and his father while he was growing up, and they recognized his love for growing coffee from a young age. He worked hard and was able to grow his farm considerably. In 2007, their farm was discovered by San Vicente (a coffee exporter), who then requested samples of their coffee. From there, Javier’s farm went on to compete in the Cup of Excellence. They were selected for auction and received a good price for the coffee.
Javier Fernandez enjoys growing high-quality, craft coffee because it expands his coffee community. He is able to meet many people from various countries that are also passionate about coffee. Through that, he is able to learn more about coffee management and the different types of processes that coffee can undergo.
There are three villages on the mountain range in Santa Barbara. On the mountainside is mostly the Pacas variety (which is akin to Bourbon), Yellow Catuai, and Pacamara. Coffee cherries are difficult to process in Santa Barbara simply because of the amount of rain that occurs near the jungle. Coffees from this region are particularly interesting, however, because of the demanding process that they require. Cups of coffee from this region embody unique flavors and attributes unlike any others in Central America.
The Santa Barbara region has many producers that have put Honduran coffee on the map. Over the past few years, the hillside has become the largest supplier of Cup of Excellence winners in Honduras. Although there are many intelligent and innovative farmers on the hillside, they all collaborate together and help each other refine and perfect their coffee lots.
According to Collaborative Coffee Source (the importer that Hex receives Javier Fernandez from), “There exists an eagerness here––a willingness, motivation, and ambition to produce the best coffee in the country. But there are also large differences amongst the farmers and our purpose is to be close to this special coffee community and get to know the most ambitious of the farmers here––the ones we can develop something with. In order to build relationships that allow both parties to have a common understanding of quality coffee, there must be a frequent and long-term presence.”
Producing coffee that is clean, clear, fresh, and fruity all at the same time is, as Collaborative Coffee Source called it, “an art.” It is assumed that high-altitude areas naturally embody these characteristics; however, high elevation can ultimately lead to problems with the coffee––especially in tropical climates. Santa Barbara is one such of these climates, which makes coffee that derives from this region particularly interesting and amazing.
Santa Barbara has areas that reach over 1800 meters high, which can result in a relatively harsh climate sometimes. There are times that the climate can “freeze,” which means the temperature can get as low as 39 degrees Fahrenheit with rain. When this happens, the coffee cherries do not ripen and the leaves die. The climate then becomes cold and humid, which, in turn, makes the drying process very intentional and attentive. Although there is nothing that farmers can do about the climate of their region, many of them do invest in drying systems that allow for minimal environmental risks.
The tasting notes for Javier Fernandez are yellow plum, blackberry, and cocoa. It is a particularly unique coffee that is quite different from any other feature we’ve had at Brakeman’s thus far, which makes it exciting and delicious! We hope to see you in over the next few weeks to try this unique cup of coffee on either drip or espresso!