About El Salvador Los Planes Pacamara
Finca Los Planes grows Pacamara varietal, of which we are big fans. In the 2006 El Salvador Cup of Excellence this coffee took second place and received a very high score of 93.52 points. This past year Los Planes entered their Bourbon into the CoE and took sixth place (we will offer that coffee later in the season). All coffees in the Cup of Excellence that score higher than 90 points earn the Presidential Award, and there are not many of them. Pacamara coffee from Los Planes has been consistently good and we have offered it during the past several years. Our quantity is very limited.
First, a little about the Pacamara varietal, the type of seed from which this coffee is grown. Pacamara is a hybrid Arabica coffee tree originally developed by the Salvadoran Coffee Research Institute (ISIC) in the late 1950's. It is a cross between the oversized Maragogype varietal and Pacas, a Salvadoran high yielding mutation of Bourbon varietal (the original Arabica of the Americas), called San Ramón Bourbon. The Pacas was discovered in 1956 by Salvadoran producers Don Alberto Pacas, for whom it was named, and Don Francisco De Sola along with the help of Dr. William Cogwill of the University of Florida. Pacamara has since spread to other growing locations in Central America and Africa.
Regarding Finca Los Planes, Sergio Ticas Reyes inherited “Los Planes farm” from his grandfather, José Onofre Ticas. Originally it was planted with only Typica varietal but in 1996, the farm was renovated with Bourbon and Pacamara varieties. Coffee from “Los Planes” is processed on the farm's wet mill and treated under 'gourmet' preparation protocols, including fermetation and washing canals that utilize fresh, clean water from a natural spring, as well as milling and sun drying on the farm's patios. The farm elevation is about a mile high, nearly 5300 feet. This is a small to mid-sized farm of 70 hectares, about 170 acres but only about one fourth of it is planted with coffee, the balance for livestock, forestry and fruit.
Farm management is very traditional, with shade tree pruning, weed control and rationalized fertilizer usage, among other things. Coffee tree density averages some 3,500 trees/hectare. Almost 60 people are employed during the harvest and 7 people work permanently on the farm.
As mentioned, we are very attracted to better Pacamaras, such as this. Generally, they present dark fruit flavors of plums and raisins so they are jammy and chewy. We have just a small quantity of this coffee available this year.
Cup Characteristics: Clean, lively acidity and dark fruit flavors but lightly so. Very complex and balanced. Creamy mouthfeel. Piquant.
Roasting notes: The beans are very large and hard. As with most high quality Centrals of any varietal, we recommend City+ to FC to bring out the nuances of the coffee. If you are roasting on a Behmor you may find P4 to your liking as well as P3.
El Salvador coffee facts:
Population (2006): 6.8 million People
Coffee Production: 1.6 million bags (60 kg)
Country bag capacity: 150 pounds - 69 kg
Domestic Consumption: 300,000 bags
Coffee Export: 1,300,000 bags
Cultivated Area: 147,000 Hectares (363,000 acres)
Harvest: February-May (for specialty grades)
Arabica Introduced: In 1830 from British Honduras.
Farms: over 40,000 over 70% less than one hectare.
Specialty Coffee areas: Santa Ana, La Libertad, Usulatan
Botanical Varietals: Bourbon, Typica, Caturra, Pacas, Pacamara.
In recent years, El Salvador has produced some outstanding coffees exhibiting refinement and complexity.