As always, we buy a lot of different coffee from San Cayetano. We've got the Red Bourbon as Yellow Honey, Washed and Natural processes which will each highlight different aspects of the coffee. On top of that, we have a small lot of the Pacamara.
This is the Pacamara, and the first of this varietal that we have in three years.
About Rafael and Carmen Silva Hoff
This coffee is from our long-time friends Rafael and Carmen Silva Hoff, who is based in Ahuachapán in the Santa Ana region. The couple has a processing station, where they process coffee for surrounding farmers in the area. This process station is known for being working strict and accurate. Rafael is still working hands-on for several hours each day, but the turnout at the processing station is also of a higher standard than we've seen elsewhere in El Salvador. They pay well and the process station is very clean, organized and tidy.
As the years have gone, we have seen the family members getting more and more into the business as well, their son Rafael Jr is now working full time with the family.
Rafael Silva, Joanna Alm and Carmen Silva
About San Cayetano
This coffee is from Carmen and Rafael's own farm called San Cayetano. It’s located in extremely steep and windy conditions where the leaves get blown right off the trees, making them weaker and less productive.
The neighbouring farms to San Cayetano are suffering badly from leaf rust which can easily be transferred to the plants at San Cayetano by the wind. For these reasons, the yield has been lower the last couple of years. But Rafael and Carmen have built more windbreakers to shield their plants and applying sulphate and fertilizers. In some areas of San Cayetano that are more fragile to Roja, opera and zink are being applied (helps the leaves). Since a couple of years, a natural organic fertiliser made at the farm, have improved the yield even more.
The Red Bourbon trees are fairly tall and have thinner spines, which is tuff in terms of the steep farm and the strong wind. Still, Rafael loves the flavour characteristics of the Red Bourbon. In El Salvador, I think the different kinds of Bourbon taste very sweet and complex in general.
Red Bourbon freshly picked at San Cayetano.
Pacamara is a hybrid of the Maragogype and Pacas varietals. It was developed in El Salvador in 1958 by the Salvadorian Institute for Coffee Research. It took about 30 years of scientific research to create, and was not released to coffee producers until 1980.
The Pacas is a natural mutation of the Bourbon varietal. It is shorter and has a more compact foliage which means it can endure tougher climate conditions such as high winds, sunlight and drought. It is a tough plant which is resistant to diseases, adapts to many growing conditions, and has high production yields.
The Maragogype is a mutation of the Typica varietal. The trees grow very tall, and produce some of the largest coffee beans, the cup quality is high, but the yields are not.
As you have probably figured out, the idea behind the Pacamara hybrid was to get the best out of the two varietals; resistance to diseases, adaptable to different growing conditions, high yields, with a high cup quality.
There is a small problem using Pacas and Maragogype in a hybrid, because they both have dominant genes, so around 20% fail to become Pacamara, and remain one or the other.
Drop Coffee and San Cayetano
This is the fourth year we are buying the coffee from Carmen and Rafael. The family is so professional to work with and are so hardworking and the friendliest people. They have full control from the farm throughout the process and export to us. The last few years, we have had the San Cayetano as Christmas Coffee. So, let's just say that Christmas came very early this year.
Farm: San Cayetano
Producer: Rafael and Carmen Silva Hoff
Process station: Sicafe (owned by Rafael and Carmen Silva Hoff)
Region: Ahuachapán, Santa Ana
Picked: February to March 2018
Elevation: 1550 masl
Flavour description: A sweet and creamy cup with notes of banana bread, clementine and honey.