The Pacamara variety has a unique flavor profile that is often defined by an umami characteristic. At worst this can be experienced as onion-like, at best it produces the effect of an expansive mouthfeel and a completeness of flavor profile rarely found in other varieties. The present meticulously crafted lot is incredibly clean with an exceptional sweetness and is replete with flavors of cocoa, red apple, and marzipan.
Carlos Batres inherited Montecarlos in the mid-1980s. The fifth generation of his family to steward this land, Batres has made Montecarlos his life’s work. Having immediately grasped the marketing potential of the pacamara variety, Carlos purchased much of the early pacamara plant material from the El Salvadorian government and successfully produced the world’s first commercial harvest of pacamara in 1992-93. This pacamara selection from the 2021 harvest is impeccably sweet and clean: a beautiful testament to the continuation of Carlos and Julie’s inspiring project at Montecarlos.
In the mid-1980’s Carlos Batres was living in London representing El Salvador at the International Coffee Organization. During this time the coffee market was regulated by quotas. The quota system temporarily broke down, due to the 1985 drought in Brazil, and Carlos went back to live in El Salvador representing Goldman Sachs and General Foods Maxwell House. During this time Carlos also inherited a farm and happened to come across the Pacamara variety which had just been released by the El Salvadorian government, who had been working on crossing the Pacas and Maragogipe varieties since the 1960s. Carlos happened to be in need of seed stock with which to plant his newly obtained farm and the Pacamara variety was an interesting prospect.
The laboratory had achieved its breeding goal of getting the productivity of the Pacas (a natural Bourbon mutation discovered in El Salvador in the 1940’s) with the large size of the Maragogipe (a natural Typical mutation discovered in Brazil in the 1870’s). Carlos Batres foresaw its marketing potential and bought most of the material they had available in 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1990 to plant and develop on Montecarlos. He had the world’s first commercial Pacamara crop in 1992-93 and started marketing it in Europe based on its size, and not the cup, since the specialty movement had not yet picked up in the world. The coffee was sold primarily in France and Italy where they marketed it as a substitute for the Maragogype, which had practically disappeared from the market.
By the late 1990s and early 2000s the specialty movement was taking shape in the US and Pacamara had started to become a little known. However, it was not until Starbucks brought it into the market as a Montecarlos “Black Apron Exclusive” in 2004 that the variety became well known. At the same time, specialty coffee shined another spotlight on the variety in the 2004 El Salvador Cup of Excellence. Since then, Carlos has shared Pacamara trees with other farmers in El Salvador. He is rightfully very proud of his role as one of the variety’s main pioneers and at Montecarlos, it continues to be the flagship variety.
2021 marks the fifth consecutive year of Passenger’s ongoing foundational partnership with Carlos and his partner Julie. As always, we select multiple lots from the harvest, each an example of a distinct arabica variety. A catuaí from the farm is presented as our Foundational Montecarlos offering and we are proudly adding the pacamara, as well as a gesha selection, to the Reserve Lot menu at the present time.