Pacamara Washed - A Gentle Giant
Pacamara Washed is a big bean with a big personality. The USP of this bean is its size so this got us wondering: What would all that extra surface area of p...
Pacamara Washed - A Gentle Giant
Pacamara Washed is a big bean with a big personality. The USP of this bean is its size so this got us wondering: What would all that extra surface area of plump fleshy mucilage on the Pacamara give us? Especially at the processing stage on the farm during its washed and drying periods? Oodles of soft fruity acidity is the answer! There's no knife-edge limey citrus cutting through here. Instead it's the gentler, malic acidity of red apple, smooth Calvados and scrummy mango, perhaps the naturally sweetest of all the drupe fruits.
A First Trip to Origin
We’ve been proud to work with the world class Café Granja la Esperanza for several years now. It was after the success we had with their coffee in the 2014 UKBC’s, where it won best espresso and cappuccino in the National Super Heats, that they spoiled us on an unforgettable trip to Colombia. We visited 4 of the 5 small farms that make up the Granja la Esperanza family as well as some other farms they collaborate with. We now also have relationships with these other smaller farmers. If you've tried the lovely Bethlehem, you'll know what we mean. As Caspar's first trip to origin it was eye opening and inspiring to say the least!
The Las Margaritas Variety Garden
Don Rigo Herrera, the head honcho, grew up on his family farm of Potosi, as 1 of 11 children. He and his brother Luis had a strong passion for farming coffee. In the late 90’s they took one of their first steps to innovate and made the whole farm organic. Soon after that they purchased another plot across the valley, the Esperanza farm and this too was 100% organic.
In 2007 Rigo had the opportunity to manage a farm in Panama, the Carleida Estate in Boquete. This was right next door to the multiple Cup of Excellence award-winning La Esmeralda. Basically this was the farm that exploded onto the world scene, with their Geisha, winning best coffee in the world year after year in the noughties.
After winning a few National awards himself in Panama, Rigo then went back to Colombia in 2008 to plant many new varieties on his various farms. This Pacamara comes from the Las Margaritas farm, also known as their Variety Garden. This is where they grow Bourbon, Geisha, Laurina, Mokka Pequeño, Sudan Rume and Pacamara.
The Right Latitude & The Right Attitude
Due to the close proximity to the equator, the trees here are flowering, ripening and ready for picking nearly every day of the year. Even though this is the case, Café Granja pay their pickers by the day and not by weight to ensure they pick only the ripest cherries. Cherries are delivered to the beneficio twice a day to avoid fermentation in the pickers baskets. Once at the beneficio they soak the cherries to separate the unripes that float from the ripes which sink to the bottom.
Next they are fermented without water for between 19-22 hours, before being dried both mechanically in specially designed silos. Then they relax in the sun while the moisture finally falls to about 11%. The magic number that says it is ready for export.
Planted in the Field of Dreams
Perhaps the highlight of our time in this beautiful, welcoming group of farms and people was our visit to The Field of Dreams. We rounded the shoulder of a steep ridge and trekked past the impressive copse called the Altar of Eucalyptus, to an open-sided shelter in the pouring rain. Here we were invited to plant our very own personally-labelled coffee saplings. We were amidst an illustrious roll call of the Global Coffee Community already pitched-up in the nursery patch. The variety chosen for our horticultural experiment? Pacamara, naturally!
The Flavours Revealed
This coffee is insanely fruity. It is bursting with tropical fruit notes, similar to the ones that grow nearby, pineapple, passionfruit and papaya. It has an intense sweetness with a very clean finish and some boozy notes too making it a very exciting and complex coffee.
Find out more about this amazing estate here, Cafe Granja La Esperanza