The Pacamara coffee variety was created in El Salvador in 1958 by crossing El Salvador’s own Pacas variety and the large-bean Maragojipe variety. When grown near the top of the Santa Ana volcano on Finca Santa Elena, the resulting giant is a classic expression of Pacamara. This year, look for notes of nougat and green apple with a creamy mouthfeel.
On October 1, 2005, Don Fernando Lima, owner of Finca Santa Elena, was gearing up for another coffee harvest, when the Santa Ana Volcano erupted for the first time in 101 years, spewing ash and rock all over the eastern side of the Volcano where his Finca Santa Elena is located. Not only is Santa Elena situated on the side that was the most affected by the eruption, it is one of the highest-elevation coffee farms in the region making matters worse. Santa Elena being just a few hundred meters below the crater of the volcano, meant that it was devastated. Santa Elena lost more than 97 percent of its harvest that year, and it took five years for the farm to fully recover. Don Fernando, faced with such a challenge, realized that the devastation also gave him an opportunity to regroup and make Santa Elena better.
We started buying the coffee from Santa Elena in 2009–2010, one of the first harvests years the farm had fully recuperated and were immediately impressed, but over the years Santa Elena has continue to implement better and better quality practices. They have built an impressive area for raised bed drying based on some feedback from us and even implemented fermentation and processing techniques for some of the selections we have bought over the years. This year, the Pacamara variety from the farm has been by far our favorite—and luckily produced more than ever. We loved this coffee so such that we ended up airfreighting it in to get it on our menu as soon as we could.