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Steampunk Coffee Roasters

El Salvador Alex Joaquin Flores

El Salvador Alex Joaquin Flores

Regular price £15.00 GBP
Regular price Sale price £15.00 GBP
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Region: La Palma, Chalatenango
Altitude: 1,200 - 1,500 m.a.s.l.
Variety: Pacamara
Processing: Washed

Tasting Notes:  This coffee has the incredibly complex flavour profile the variety is renowned for. Juicy mandarin, Granny Smith, apple blossom and honey, with distinct dark chocolate as it cools.

This remarkable microlot is one of two El Salvador lots we’re roasting this summer. The other one, Los Chelazos, is a coffee we’ll use for our milky espresso drinks in the cafe at the end of the summer and we bought 20 sacks of that one. This lot has a higher quality score, hence the higher price tag, and we’ve got a lot less of it—the equivalent of just two sacks. 

Often, pacamara has a savoury note, like green or red peppers and vine tomato. This one doesn’t have those notes; it’s much more citric and malic in its overall character and it also has floral and chocolate notes. It’s genuinely one of a kind coffee. This is one to brew on a Sunday morning when you have time to linger and enjoy.

Alex Joaquin Flores Rivera is a young producer who regenerated his family’s farm after his father was forced to abandon it due to the coffee price crisis of the early 2000s. The C market price of coffee dropped to just $0.43 per pound in 2001 and simultaneously a coffee leaf rust blight decreased El Salvador’s coffee production by more than 30 percent. Farm abandonment was common at the time, and continues today, despite the efforts of young producers like Alex and his family. 

Before inheriting Finca Las Flores, Alex worked with his father growing coffee. He found work as a foreman on a neighbouring farm when Las Flores became unproductive, but he was determined to regenerate it and grow coffee there once again. While working on the other farm, he began to renew his father’s coffee plantation and take better care of it. Alex now works full time on the family farm and, along with his brothers, they carry out all the activities during and after the harvest, only hiring additional pickers when needed. 

This is the first harvest of the Pacamara variety from Las Flores. Pacarmara is a famous variety distinguished by its large bean size and its complex flavour profile. Pacarma was developed in 1958 by scientists at the Salvadoran Institute for Coffee Research. This particular cross was intended to take the exceptional cup quality of the Maragogipe variety and combine it with the toughness and higher yields of Pacas. It took about 30 years to isolate and stabilise the Pacamara cultivar but it was eventually released to producers in the late 1980s. Since then the variety has grown in popularity due to its excellent flavours and high quality scores. The Flores family also grows Pacas, Catuai and Bourbon varieties and for the last 4 years they’ve been focusing on increasing quality to access the higher returns available on the specialty market. 

For Alex, the transition to specialty coffee has been a gradual process of small upgrades during each harvest due to limited resources and the farm’s small size, just 0.7 hectares. In 2019 to increase volume, Alex decided to rent an additional 0.7-hectare plot, already fully productive with coffee ready to harvest and process. Alex's hope is to improve the washing station and expand the farm size to at least 3.5 hectares to boost productivity and long term profitability. In addition to cultivating coffee, Alex spends his free time working on honey production, tending the hives and collecting honey. Diversification like this is essential for economic sustainability in coffee farming, which has limitations as a cash crop due to its single annual harvest in most origins.

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