Release #15: Mario Moreno 2017
Since the 2005 Cup of Excellence, the Santa Barbara region has enjoyed well-deserved international recognition as the source of many of the most interesting, complex, and delicious coffees in Honduras. Two key families have been at the heart of this regional fame: the Paz family, who owns San Vicente, the company responsible for milling and exporting the coffees from the region, and the Moreno family, a farming family who has championed specialty coffee and the benefits it brings and have encouraged many other producers in the region to begin producing specialty coffee over commodity coffee.
The village of El Cedral is close to the jungle, and as such close to rain. This can make drying the coffees challenging, but it also makes the reward of drying the coffee well all the sweeter (quite literally in this case). The drying, combined with good plant genetics (the Pacas variety is fairly ubiquitous amongst the producers intentionally crafting specialty coffee in this region, but this lot happens to be Bourbon), climate (warm days and sometimes quite cold nights), and soil (volcanic) make for incredibly unique, complex and delicious coffees, unlike anything else found in Honduras.
Seven Moreno brothers (Miguel, Mario, Jesus, Gerardo, Olvin, Mabel, and Danny) continue to honor the legacy of their father, Daniel Moreno, who started producing coffee in Santa Barbara back in 1963. While Passenger has proudly presented coffees from multiple members of the Moreno family since our start as a roasting company, Mario Moreno is the name that has returned to the Reserve Lot menu most often. This special archival selection from the 2017 harvest - carefully preserved in deep freeze storage since its arrival - was one of the first microlots from Mario's farm that Passenger purchased. We are absolutely thrilled to share a small amount of this delicious coffee once again, facilitating a fascinating contrast with the more recent 2020 Mario Moreno selection that is one of Passenger's current Reserve Lot offerings.