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La Cabra

Finca Santa Rosa, El Salvador

Finca Santa Rosa, El Salvador

Regular price $27.20
Regular price $34.00 Sale price $27.20
Sale Sold out

Roast Date: February 12, 2024


The floral notes of the Pacamara shine clearly through the sugary sweet character produced by the honey process, tied together by a crisp blood orange freshness.

Three-time Cup of Excellence winning farm, most recently in 2019.


This is our sixth year buying coffee from Jorge Raul Rivera. Raul is a second generation coffee producer, based just outside the town of La Palma, in the far north-west of El Salvador, close to the border with Honduras. His farm, Finca Santa Rosa, is located at around 1550 masl on the slopes of El Pital, El Salvador’s highest point. The farm is planted mainly with the famed Salvadoran varietal Pacamara, and has produced some of the country’s highest quality coffees in recent years.

Finca Santa Rosa

Jorge Raul Rivera Sr. began growing coffee in the region around La Palma in 1979. He was one of the first to grow coffee in the area, and one of the few that stayed during El Salvador’s brutal civil war, as many others abandoned their land, sold cheap and fled into neighbouring Honduras. As El Salvador began to settle again after the war, the Riveras bought the land that would become Finca Santa Rosa, and began to grow timber, due to government subsidies aiming to help the post-war rebuilding effort. In 2003, the Cup of Excellence came to El Salvador, a great showcase for the first few speciality coffee producers in the country. The Riveras saw a prime opportunity; if they could use the perfect conditions at Santa Rosa to produce micro-lots of high enough quality, they could fetch high prices at the Cup of Excellence auctions, making their farm highly profitable. They planted their farm with Pacamara, famed for high quality cups, and set off in pursuit of the Cup of Excellence crown.

This Honey Pacamara is becoming somewhat of a feature coffee for us here at La Cabra, with the floral notes of the Pacamara shining clearly through the sugary sweet character produced by the honey process, tied together by a fresh and ripe strawberry freshness.

The Cup of Excellence

Years of work have resulted in three overall wins, in 2014, 2017 and 2019, all with their honey-processed Pacamara. The pine from the old timber plantations has been retained as shade for the coffee, always reminding us of a Scandinavian pine forest during our visits. The pine needles capture moisture from evening mists and distribute it in the soil, while providing a source of organic material when they fall. Visiting Raul is always a treat, he’s a genuinely passionate professional whose enthusiasm is rather infectious; Raul is always keen to share his knowledge, nerding coffee, whisky and cars.

This year he was keen to show us a new plot of Geisha, with a small harvest expected in 2024. The pride he takes in every single detail of the farm and step of the process is obvious, and this translates into the incredibly high quality lots of coffee he is able to produce.

Honey Process

With the honey process a certain amount of mucilage and pulp are allowed to remain on the coffee bean during depulping. The cover will stay with the bean during fermentation and drying thereby contributing to the sugars absorbed by the bean and affecting the flavour notes of the final cup. The amount of mucilage remaining defines the type of honey process - white, yellow, red or black in ascending order of mucilage concentration. If they are processed properly, the coffees can take on quite a lot of sweetness and flavours while remaining clean.

Raised drying beds (sometimes referred to as African drying beds) are often preferable when working with honey processed coffees, because of the additional airflow they allow. The air ensures that the beans dry evenly and reduces the incidence of fungi and bacteria formation. On the other hand, some farmers are accustomed to using sun-exposed patio drying that require a regular raking of beans to avoid moulds. While total fermentation and drying time depend on such choices as well as ambient temperature and moisture levels, red honey processing easily needs two weeks from depulping until drying has completed.

  • Producer

     Raul Rivera
  • Region

  • Altitude

     1550 masl
  • Varietal

  • Process

  • Harvest

     March 2023


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