|Dry Fragrance (1-5)
||Notes: Pacamara in itself is an oddity … this large bean is grown on few farms since the requirements to process it, and tolerance for this low-yield cultivar are both rare. But here is something even stranger: Pacamara Peaberry. And beyond the shape of the seed, the coffee has a unique cup character from a standard Pacamara lot. Some background: Pacamara is a distinct cultivar of Arabica coffee, more specifically it is a subtype of the large bean Maragogype and Pacas, a natural hybrid from El Salvador. Maragogype is called the "elephant bean" for its incredibly large size, and is a sponaneous variation of Typica. Now, bean size per se has nothing to do with cup quality: a bigger seed doesn’t make a better cup. But the argument for Maragogype and Pacamara is that the tree produces fewer cherries and flavor is more concentrated. I have tasted some very bland Pacamara that was lower grown, so this isn’t always true. And hey, once you grind it up it all looks the same! On the other hand I have had some coffees that had outstanding cup qualities, surpassed all the rival samples in blind cupping, and just happened to be Pacamara. Pacamara coffees are often pooled from a small region of growers, since each independently would not have enough to form a lot. So in a sense, these are like pearls in a bed of oysters, and even in local markets of coffee-producing areas they sell for 3x to 4x the going price. This unique Peaberry lot has cup qualities that are brighter, more dynamic, and unusual than the flat bean Pacamara lot from which it is derived. Mierisch family farms has Pacamara chiefly on the Limonocillo farm in Matagalpa, and they grow enough to save the very small percent of Peaberry just for us. In fact, there is a floral note that reminds me of the longberry Ethiopia-derived Gesha coffees from Panama, not in the citric aspects of the Gesha, but in exotic secondary flavors. It harkens to the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe floral dimension; I feel I could fake this cup profile by blending a really good Central with a Yirgacheffe or wet-process Sidamo. But why do that when you can get the same cup from a pure, single-farm cultivar! The aromatics are pronounced; sweet, syrupy and a touch herby. The cup flavors have an unusual sweetness to them, floral at first and then sage, cola (and a bit of smokiness). It’s not one of those simple, sweet clean Centrals, and it isn’t one of those weird earthy Indonesians, but this coffee has a different kind of funky cup character … but somehow it works and the flavors knit together quite well. Roasting, as with other Pacamara and Maragogype coffees, should be attended to carefully since the large bean will not move in the roaster the way other coffees do.