Samuel Gutierrez Mena
Purple grape, toffee, and praline.
In the cup: We are thrilled to bring this Pacamara micro-lot to the table to start the year off right. This is one of those coffees with a beautiful origin and sourcing story and as strange as it might sound, one can taste this story in the cup. It's beautifully silky with all the right curves in all the right places. First, there is mouth-watering fruit with a vibrant clean crisp purple grape, this rolls into soft blueberry followed by a silky toffee and lingering praline finish.
A hidden gem: Perhaps not quite as well known as Santa Ana, Chalatenangos is quickly gaining international fame. Previously inaccessible to international markets Chaltenango is home to some exceptional coffee producers that are producing some stellar coffee. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of many skilled and hardworking hands we are seeing some truly exceptional coffees out of this region, some for the very first time.
Support and time: Instrumental in the opening up of this gorgeous coffee region and getting it through our doors is Senior coffee buyer for Cafe Imports Piero Cristiani. Piero has really helped to drive quality and market accessibility by investing in relationships and smallholder community farmers. As recently as 2010 these farmers would not have had access to international markets and would have had no choice but to sell their lots on the local market for a small price.
Piero and his green bean-buying associate Alberto Reyes have been an indispensable force in helping bring these exceptional micro-lots to us. Working with families and community leaders they have helped build a strong foundation that has been able to bring farmers higher returns for their exceptional coffee, in a market that simply can't get enough of it.
You say micro-lot? The average farm held by the Chalatenango smallholders is between 1-3 mazanas (1 mazana = a little less than a hectare) and may yield fewer than 20 full-size bags annually. But don't let their lot size fool you--these are some of the most exciting, dynamic and delicious coffees we have ever seen from this region.
Samuel Mena grows this beautiful Pacamara varietal on his roughly 3 mazanas farm named La Galdamez.
Paca what? The Pacamara varietal is a cross between the varietals Pacas and Maragogype, which was developed by the Instituto Salvadore de Investigaciones del Cafe (ISIC). This is not a varietal that we come across often but we are seeing some great roasting traits so far, with exquisite complexity and big expansion (which for us coffee nerds is pretty exciting). Big expansion means big solubility which means big flavour that is easy-to-brew!
Do what you do best: Piero purchases from producers like Samuel Guiterrez Mena in parchment, and custom mills it on behalf of Cafe imports. This does two things, firstly it takes some burden off smallholder farmers with limited access to equipment. Secondly, it allows for cafe imports to have increased control measures and make informed market destination decisions. We love it as it keeps everyone in the chain doing what they do best.
Processing: These large Pacamara beans are picked only when ripe, then depulped the same day before being placed in tanks to ferment in the open air for 12-24 hours. Mucilage is then washed off and the clean coffee seeds are placed on raised beds to dry for 25-30 days.