Finca Los Planes grows two varietals, Pacamara and Bourbon. This is their famed Pacamara, a varietal of which we are very big fans. Their Bourbon varietal won 6th place in last year's Cup of Excellence and we offered it too last season. This year we have secured a very small amount Pacamara and it is being offered at a very reasonable price. In the 2006 El Salvador Cup of Excellence competition, this coffee took 2nd place and received the very high score of 93.52 points. All coffees in the CoE 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 briefly each of the last two years. Our quantity is very limited.
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.
Sergio Reyes (right), owner of Los Planes with Barry in El Salvador May 2010
Sergio Ticas Reyes inherited the “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.
This coffee is shade grown as is almost all coffee from El Salvador. 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.
Cup Characteristics: Clean, lively acidity and dark fruit flavors but lightly so. Very complex and balanced. Creamy mouthfeel. Piquant.