This lot comes from producer Hugo Barrera, who grows Bourbon and Pacas coffee trees on his farm, ‘Finca La Macarena’. The farm spans over 100 hectares up to altitudes of 1,700m, and is situated in Palo Campana, just north of Volcán de Santa Ana.
We have purchased this lot by working closely with Nordic Approach and through an ongoing partnership with Jose Antonio Jr. and Andreas Salaverria at JASAL. The Salaverria brothers, whom we visited and stayed with in February, produced three other lots of coffee we purchased this year from El Salvador. They also take on the duties of processing some of Hugo’s coffee at the ‘Las Cruces’ wet and dry mill. This is great because it means that Hugo’s high quality lots from Finca La Macarena benefit from fantastic post-harvest practices. The processing at Las Cruces is meticulous and after being fully washed and dried, the coffee is milled and undergoes many stages of quality refinement. The beans become even more uniform due to steps taken at the dry mill, including density grading and colour sorting the green coffee.
The varieties of coffee grown at Finca La Macarena have the potential to produce really delicious cups of coffee. They are, however, tricky to grow as they are more susceptible to pests and diseases. Bourbon is an incredibly celebrated variety, with a wonderfully sweet cup profile and an interesting history of parenting many new cultivars. Typically more robust varieties are cross-bred with Bourbon to retain positive cup attributes but introducing a little more innate resistance into the coffee plant’s genetics. Because of this we like to think of Bourbon as the Cox’s Orange Pippin of the coffee world.
Pacas is a dwarf plant and a natural mutation of the Bourbon variety. The shorter stature of the plant means there is potential to produce higher yields of fruit than a spindly Bourbon tree, and it also allows for close spacing between plants, increasing the number of trees per hectare that a coffee grower is able to plant and maintain. As with Bourbon, there are varieties of coffee with celebrated cup character that have been parented by Pacas, for instance the cross of Pacas and Maragogype: Pacamara.
Sweet and round coffees from El Salvador, such as this one, can be such a joy to work with as espresso. The shots possess a great balance of flavour, rich texture, integrated and supportive acidity and a decadence that fruitier coffees won’t always deliver. This particular coffee extracts very readily and evenly from shot to shot. We also feel that the cup character complements milk very well, and produces the best cappuccino we’ve drunk this year!
Apaneca-Ilamatepec, El Salvador
A chocolatey mouthfeel and sweet red apple notes complement flavours of raisins, stroopwafels and honeycomb in this decadent, satisfying espresso.