Varietal Deep Dive: Parainema
Parainema can be a bit divisive in the cup, but let’s learn why this varietal should be widely celebrated.
Don’t just take it from us, here’s what Drew Johnson, Owner of Bows Coffee Roasters, has to say about the value of hybrid varieties like Parainema:
“I think it’s important in an age of prized varieties and experimental processes (that favours wealthy producers) to see what a high-yield, rust-resistant hybrid tastes like. This is the future of small producers. It’s workmanlike and not glamorous, but it’s the cup profile of producers making decisions to safeguard their current and future livelihood."
The Origin Story
Parainema is a hybrid coffee varietal created in Honduras that is resistant to coffee-leaf rust and some nematodes. It’s well adapted to grow in medium altitudes and provides a good yield on coffee.
The Honduran Coffee Institute (IHCAFE) created the Parainema cultivar by selectively breeding two members of the Sarchimor variety. The main goal was to increase the resistance to coffee lead rust while still maintaining quality.
Coffee Leaf Rust
Many varieties like Parainema are developed in response to the ongoing coffee-leaf rust epidemic. This crop disease is attacking the livelihood of farmers, especially small producers who don’t have enough investment to combat this issue.
These coffee hybrids' genetic diversity is intended to slow the advance of the disease on an already infected plot of land. While coffee hybrids aren't the only solution to prevent coffee leaf rust (climate change is a huge proponent), they do help rectify this issue. Many other factors can affect the prevalence of coffee-leaf rust, including humidity, shade availability, and also how a producer approaches the issue.
Despite the belief that rust-resistance coffees taste worse than their counterparts, a parainema lot won the Honduran Cup of Excellence in 2017. The varietal is known for its unique herbal flavours that tend to taste more savoury than sweet. Parainema is a great way to spruce up your morning cup every morning if you want to shake up your morning cup of joe.