When the Pacas Family began to pulp the cherries of this unknown coffee the pickers from almost two miles away could smell a vibrant floral, mango aroma in the air and came back to the mill to find out what was going on. Stumped, we put it down to just be a different strain of Geisha we had not yet seen before. After all these trees are over 70 years old making them very unique even if it was Geisha.
Alfredo told us he would send a leaf from the unknown trees to a lab in Italy to help identify the varietal. Several weeks later we received an email from Alfredo that totally blew our minds! It reads as follows;
I hope everything is going great for you at Proud Mary.
We are very excited to be sending our coffees your way since we know you roast and showcase them with the same passion we have! We´re specially excited with the variety which we suspected was Geisha when you visited. I´m pleased to let you know that we had it DNA-tested at a specialized lab in Italy and it was determined that it is not a Geisha. Quoting the analysis results:
"The genetic profile did not correspond completely to any profile in our database. However, it is extremely similar to samples originating from Ethiopia, in particular to a sample originating from Agaro, Ethiopia. There is no similarity with Arabica varieties cultivated in Central and South America.”
Part of the results include a genetic tree, which places this new variety in relation with other genetic profiles in their database: And finally, we asked them to map this new variety in relation to Geisha, and to describe how similar these two are. In response, they said that the percentage of common alleles is 71%, so they are significantly different. Here is the genetic tree showing the relationship between Geisha and our new variety:
As you can imagine, we are very excited to have found this new variety at Los Bellotos and we are happy that you are getting the first edition! Since this is a new variety, we have been thinking of a name for it and we have come to the conclusion that with its name, we want to credit Ruperto Bernardino Merche, the farm manager at Los Bellotos who noticed that these coffee trees were different and brought them to our attention. For this reason, we have named the new variety “Bernardina” =)
I would love to hear your thoughts about this discovery and any suggestions you might have!
Without a doubt this is a very exciting discovery for the coffee gene pool. For us at Proud Mary we love story coffees that we can showcase and share with our customers. This for us is where we can make a real difference in providing coffees that delivery exceptional results in the cup and make each of us feel part of something special and real.