||El Salvador Finca San Rafael Washed Pacas 2014
This coffee is in its third year with us, and is another that comes from the fruits of my travels to El Salvador. This is a coffee we are happy to see back (and we also have some more options to go with it).
First cultivated in 1905 by the father of the present owner, Don Fransisco Alberto Pacas Figueroa, San Rafael lies at the top of his estate at an altitude of 4,400 feet in the canton of Palo de Campana. It's located near to the city of Santa Ana: close to Ochupse Arriba.
The owner experimented with many varietals in his nurseries but found that the Bourbon variety of San Rafael continually produced the best coffee. His son continues to experiment with new varieties of coffee to this day.
On the farm you can find papaya trees, banana trees and a variety of national flora and fauna including the famous Balsamo trees. The coffee is shade grown and all the maintenance is done by hand (weeding and so on), rather than with chemicals. They try to re-use the waste produced from the coffee processing for fertilising their crops as much as possible.
The coffee is hand-picked and then sorted by hand to remove any waste, or unsuitable beans, before going to processing. This provides employment for a number of families in the area during the picking season.
I have been lucky enough to visit the farm a few times now. It's funny, I found out that I have passed this farm many many times in the past and had just not noticed it. The farm is on the route to a few really famous farms we have bought from, and is in one of the best corridors of coffee in the world.
On a visit a couple of years ago we did our normal walk around the farm checking out conditions of plants, workers and things like that. The talk wandered to the varietals on the farm: I thought it was 100% Bourbon, but they told me they also grow a small amount of Pacas.
So being the pro coffee buyer I am, I asked them if they would separate it. They told me no one had ever asked them to, but sure it should be no problem. But then the farm manager said to me about how there is an old story attached to the Pacas.
In 1930 Don Francisco replanted three quarters of a manzana of the farm with seed stock from some special trees he had seen on San Rafael. These trees seemed to yield much more than the other Bourbon trees, seemed healthier and thrived far more. This replanted part of the farm yielded 20% more than the rest of the farm, and it got nicknamed San Ramon Bourbon.
In 1956 the question got too much for Don Francisco so he sought to find out what this plant really was. They enlisted the services of a visiting botanist, Dr. Cogwill, from the University of Florida. Dr Cogwill took two trees from the farm to take a closer look back at the University.
The story goes that Dr Cogwill meant to label the trees with the name San Rafael, but forgot the name of the farm. He did remember the name of the family who owned the farm, the Pacas family, so he marked them 'Pacas', and the name of the varietal 'Pacas' was born.
This is the first farm it was found on, but also this offering right now is only the second time it has ever been separated (and last time was us as well) and tried as a stand-alone offering. This I find very exciting; as you also did last year when you hoovered it up.
In the cup this shares some of the properties of its Bourbon brother: 'Werther's Originals' sweetness and great mouthfeel. But where it differs is in the super clean mango acidity that runs through its core. A delicious example of Pacas at its best.
This one is a medium roast, no more. Into the first pops of second if you must, but no more.
"Quick Look" Guide
Mango, sweet, hazelnuts, buttery mouthfeel, Werther's Originals.
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