I experienced one of the most special moments during my time in coffee in January 2020. My 19 year old self qualified for the second largest stage in coffee brewing, the National Brewers Cup. I was brewing with this really funky “no-bloom-continuous pour” brewing method that I don’t even really want to explain because it was, in hindsight, quite novel, but I was very much into doing everything really differently. The coffee that I was using was definitely good enough to make my weirdness work, but I knew as I entered into the National stage, I was going to need to take it up a notch.
I selected a coffee off of the portfolio at Hex from a producer named Isaias Fernandez. The coffee was a common variety grown in the Santa Barbara region of Honduras called Pacas (a mutation of Bourbon) and it underwent a low oxygen fermentation in bags, nothing super fancy going on. It was, however, one of my favorite coffees that Hex has purchased to this day, and was likely my favorite coffee that Hex purchased while I was on the QC team. The care that Isaias puts into his practices is evident in the cup. Even in 2019, while fermenting in bags rather than a hermetic tank (which we commonly see used in coffees processed in low oxygen environments), the quality was just as high, if not even higher than other coffees of similar processing.
Since 2019, I’ve seen Isaias’s name become more prevalent amongst roasters that we frequently purchase from, including Onyx, Touchy, and Passenger. We’re so stoked to share this coffee with you and a little bit more about Isaias in the interview below :-)
Q. Did you grow up in Santa Barbara?
A. Yes, I am originally from Las Flores Santa Bárbara
Q. How long have you been farming?
A. I have always been dedicated to growing coffee, since I belong to a family of third-generation producers. By inheritance it is something for which I dedicate myself and I am passing it on to my future generation. Coffee is a crop that we are passionate about and it has allowed us to move forward with our family.
Q. What is your favorite variety to grow?
A. It is a difficult question to answer because I like the original varieties such as typica, geisha, bourbon - of which I have two in production.
Q. What is something you love about the coffee industry?
A. The inclusiveness because I can interact with the people who support us on the farm as well as with the roasters. I love all the methods of interaction.
Q. What is something that could be improved in the industry?
A. The social projects of the roasters on the farms, especially health, education, and which help to mitigate the migration from the countryside to the city.
Q. What is something about your farm you would like the reader to know?
A. We hold ourselves responsible for the environment. We like to take care of forests and water sources as well as support non-child labor; it gives me great satisfaction to know that through my work, someone in the world can taste a cup of special coffee which we make with lots of love.