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Pacamara is a botanical variety of coffee born from crossing Pacas and Maragogype varieties to produce an elegant, large coffee bean with exceptional quality when grown at high altitude. It is one of the only varieties that holds its own against much more expensive and rare Gesha (Geisha) coffees. The low-growing Pacamara variety displays some of the sweet flavor characteristics of Bourbon coffee, which has been largely wiped out due to leaf rust. Pacamaras produce both yellow and red cherries.

Pacamara is most commonly found in El Salvador, but the Villatoro family has perfected the growing conditions for this unusual coffee plant on a small corner of their lovely family farm in the renowned Huehuetenango region of Guatemala.

We take a group of our baristas to visit this farm each year because we are so impressed with the Villatoro family’s coffee production. They have built a wet mill, a road that connects the rural community to the nearest paved road, and every roof in the family village of Hoja Blanca doubles as a drying patio. This family fully is dedicated to specialty coffee. See photos of our head roaster and assistant roaster on their recent trip to the farm. You can also learn more about the Villatoro family here.

Region: Huehuetenango

Elevation: 1650m

Process: Washed

Farmer: Aurelio Villatoro

Varietal: Pacamara

We Taste: Nectarine, Almond, Rose

Roast Level: Light (Agtron: 75)

We visited both the Rukira washing station (“factory”) and the Othaya Society’s Dry Mill and Cupping lab, hosted throughout by Newton Ndiritu one of the brightest coffee personalities in Kenya. Newton is both the factory chairman at the Rukira factory with approximately 560 members and the chairman of the entire Othaya Society (which comprises about 15,000 farmer members across several other factories).

Newton has raised the bar for his fellow member farmers at Rukira in a few ways. By using best-practice pruning methods and appropriate amounts of fertilizers he’s been able to increase the yield from around 5kg per tree to around 23 kg per tree, thereby showing a way to make farming coffee sustainable in the long-term. He’s smoothed the path for construction of the Othaya society’s own dry mill, which has helped control the quality all the way to our roastery. The dry mill also includes a state-of-the-art cupping lab, the best cupping lab our coffee buying team has seen at any society or factory. By controlling the process and continuously cupping the coffee, Rukira (and some other factories at Othaya) consistently turn out some of Kenya’s best coffees. The Rukira AA placed third in the Taste of Harvest competition this year, and we think you’ll enjoy it tremendously!

Nectarine, Almond, Rose