Fancy a bowl of flambéed pineapple, passionfruit and kiwi ? This will do nicely.
Another special process micro lot from the Colombian masters Café Granja Esperanza. From their farm 'Las Margaritas', which their workers call the ‘garden of varieties’, this is a Pacamara natural with a twist.
This is classified as a ‘competition coffee’ and typically a barista would use coffees of this quality for one of the various comps that would be happening. Lucky for us there are no competitions this year and we were able to score a small amount of this exceptional 90 point coffee.
This XO natural has undergone 48-50 hrs dry fermentation immediately after picking under controlled temperature conditions. It is then dehydrated for 48hrs in the silo dryers at 35C before final sun-drying until the moisture is between 11 and 12%. It is then held in storage (reposo) for at least three months to stabilise and reduce the astringency of 'freshness'.
The XO long fermentation process leads to heavier, more alcoholic (sherry/brandy notes), and spicier coffee. In this case, it reminded us of a flambé desert of tropical fruits, pineapple, passionfruit and kiwi.
Five farms make up the Café Granja La Esperanza: Cerro Azul, Las Margaritas, La Esperanza, Potosi and Hawaii. With a reputation for producing competition winning coffees, processes are matched with varieties to produce unique flavour profiles. This XO Natural Pacamara is part of their competition range which have placed highly in national and world competitions over the last 20 years.
The level of quality in agronomy, processing and experimentation is recognised world-wide and definitely goes to prove the adage that you only get out what you put in !
For those interested, the Pacamara is an usual bean that is a hybrid cross between a Pacas and Maragogype varietal:
The Pacas varietal discovered by Fernando Alberto Pacas Figueroa in 1949 was identified as a natural 'spontaneous' mutation of the Bourbon varietal. In amongst his rows of coffee trees he found plants which were shorter, denser, and heavy with fruit. Their compact shape made them resistant to environmental challenges like heavy storms and the yield was up to 20% higher than the regular Bourbon on his estate. Naturally he was delighted by this development and propagated and planted this new tree across one section of the farm, giving it the nickname ‘San Rafael’. Flavour-wise it very much echoes it's parent Bourbon, sweet and well-rounded.
Maragogype has its origins in Brazil, and was another 'spontaneous' mutation from the Typica varietal. They are nicknamed “elephant beans”, almost everything about them is big, with tall trees, large leaves and huge cherries. The beans are enormous, the biggest of all known coffee cultivars, but this is offset by the fact that the yield is very low. Maragogypes are known for unique and beautiful flavours, with delicate aromas, complexity and balance.
The big Pacamara on the far right
The Salvadoran Institute of Coffee Research in 1958 as part of a wide-ranging experiment in creating new kinds of coffee trees, combined the sweetness of Pacas with the sophistication of Maragogype, and the resultant Pacamara surpasses both of its parents. The profile leans toward a medium body, with a rich creaminess, balanced with an elegant and fine acidity, particularly when grown at high elevations.