General September 6 2018 SPONTANEOUS MUTATION

Written by Cassy

We admit, ‘spontaneous mutation’ doesn’t really have an appealing ring. But this natural, botanical occurrence can sometimes result in something truly delicious and utterly unique.

One spring day, Sr. Miguel Menendez was walking the highest section of his coffee farm in El Salvador when he was alerted to something unusual. All his trees were in full bloom, perfuming the air with an intense, jasmine-like fragrance. But the scent coming from one funny little tree stood apart with the unmistakable smell of peach.

Sr. Miguel Menendez on his farm, Las Delicious, checking on the cherries.

Even more surprising, when the flowers of this tree matured into coffee cherries, it’s fruit expressed the same peach-like note. It seems this tree was a rare, spontaneous mutation, resulting in a completely new coffee variety –or cultivar– with a very distinct flavor from its neighboring shrubs.

Agriculture has long depended on the ecological process of mutation to bring forth a better yield, enhance quality or disease resistance. Typically, this process is encouraged by farmers and agronomists through controlled cultivation, such as cross pollination or grafting to produce a specifically desired trait. However, naturally occurring or ‘spontaneous’ mutation, rarely results in an improved offspring, at least not by the standards of our tastebuds or marketplace demands.

This unique ‘Peach’ cultivar growing on the Menendez farm on the other hand, is a rare find in that its particular mutation works in favor of great flavor. 

Marigold is just one of small a handful of roasters who has access to this unique and delicious coffee. You can buy it online or stop by our SE Portland Cafe.

Peach- Las Delicias is available only for as long as it lasts. A matter of weeks, not months.