Hi Tanya, thanks for this question.
If you’re like me, Eugenioides probably caught your attention recently, thanks to Diego Campos’s triumph at the 2021 World Barista Championship.
For the first time, three national champions competed with non-Arabica specialty coffee. And yes, their weapon of choice was this rare and exquisite Eugenoides coffee.
Eugenioides is very special for many reasons. To start, it isn’t a varietal but a completely different species. Scientists track Eugenioide’s origin to East Africa, where it crossed with Robusta naturally and became the ancestor of Arabica.
This coffee species is low in caffeine, somewhere in the middle of Robusta and Arabica. It has around half of Arabica coffee’s caffeine content. Now, caffeine content doesn’t impact its stimulant properties only. Eugenioides is very sweet with nearly zero bitterness due to its low caffeine content.
Another consequence of low caffeine content is vulnerability to plagues. As you may know, caffeine is a natural repellent for most insects and animals. Our beloved stimulant is present in every bit of the coffee tree, from the fruits to the leaves and the seeds. So, Eugenioides doesn’t count on Robusta’s great natural defense that keeps Arabica as a successful crop.
Although Eugenioides originated in East Africa, Finca Inmaculada in Colombia was the pioneering coffee producer that brought this species to the international stage. Finca Inmaculada is at 2,000 masl in Western Colombia. It’s an impressive and innovative coffee producer that works with other crops too, but that accomplished global notoriety for its groundbreaking work with premium coffee, particularly Eugenioides.
Andrea Allen from Onyx Coffee Lab won the first national barista championship with Eugenioides in 2019. After this breakthrough, Eugenioides slowly started to become more prominent.
The main reasons for having such little availability of Eugenioides are its vulnerability and low yields. In other words, Eugenioides is hard to grow and produces tiny amounts of coffee cherries.
Eugenioides is very expensive because it’s naturally scarce. Additionally, it has a unique aromatic profile that attracts connoisseurs and enthusiasts’ attention.
If you want to brew Eugenioides, it’s essential to consider that Eugenioides is different from Arabica and Robusta. It grounds differently, and most importantly, extraction too.
Some baristas recommend using a medium-fine grind size for pour-overs, which helps get a better extraction. Water temperature is critical too, so using 205 °F (96 °C) seems to work well.
Overall, what’s most shocking about Eugenioides is its fruity sweetness. I would say it’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely worth trying.