Farm: Finca Los Bellotes
Varietal: 100% Red Bourbon
Processing: Fully washed and sundried on clay patios
Altitude: 1,438 to 1,800 metres above sea level
Owner: Maria Pacas & Family
Town / City: Canton Lomas de San Marcelino, Municipio de Coatepeque
Region: Santa Ana
Overall: Dark plum, white sugar, toasted almond, brown sugar
Finca Los Bellotes La Calandria - El Salvador
Finca Los Bellotos belongs to CAFÉ PACAS - a family run business that has worked in coffee for 5 generations. Despite the family’s long history farming in El Salvador, the farm itself is relatively new to them. In 2009, the family decided to continue the expansion of coffee land that they were cultivating and managed to find Finca Los Bellotos. Because of its location, Los Bellotos is naturally secluded from other farms. This allows its coffee to be very unique. In fact, Los Bellotos has thrown some big surprises to Café Pacas, including the discovery of a new coffee variety, which has been given the name ‘Bernardina’.
Finca Los Bellotos got its name because of the Belloto trees that grow wild around the farm. These trees provide a very dense shade for the coffee trees, making the temperature of the farm very cool and pleasant (which incidentally contributes to slow maturation of the cherries). Belloto trees are not particularly common in El Salvador, so because of their beauty and rarity, the farm was named after them.
La Calandria is a tablón (a plot of land) on the farm. The production of the lot is 100% Red Bourbon, though the farm’s 60-some-odd hectares are home to a growing range of coffee varieties.
Finca Los Bellotos is currently undergoing an intensive renovation of its coffee and shade trees. In 2014, Los Bellotos planted 10,000 new coffee trees and 400 trees for shade, and the work continues! The Pacas family is focusing on re-planting the whole farm using high quality varieties such as Fed Bourbon, Pacas and Pacamara. As with all of their farms, they will further enhance the farm’s production through innovative processing methods.
During March and April, the farm carries out pruning and maintenance of the trees. It is important to prune the shade trees so that the coffee trees receive sufficient light and the new fruits can grow and develop properly. Because after harvest many of the branches of the trees are damaged, it is also important to do some maintenance work on them. After this the first fertilizers are applied and as soon as the rainy season starts new coffee trees are sown. Fertilization on the farm is carried out after a careful leaf and soil analysis is conducted.
The farm provides jobs for 50 people year round, all of whom have families that depend on this farm for their livelihoods. As a company, Café Pacas is committed to providing them with good working conditions, decent wages, trainings, etc. – everything to make their quality of life as high as the quality of the coffee that they farm.
The environmental impact of the farm is also very important. The diversity of shade and coffee trees provide a home for different types of animals and plants. Café Pacas continuously works towards soil and water conservation in all their activities at the farm.
The coffee cherries are handpicked only when fully ripe. They are then ‘semi-washed’ - after the coffee is pulped with clean fresh water, it is left to ferment for 4 to 6 hours; they are then rinsed and delivered to dry on the farm’s brick patios with approximately 30% of the mucilage still on the bean. When 12° humidity is reached the coffee is then stored at the farm’s parchment warehouse for 30 days, giving the beans an adequate “reposo” (rest) before final milling and export. The Pacas family has also invested in an in-house cupping lab, which allows them to monitor the quality of each and every lot they produce.