This month we are sharing coffees from Gilberto Baraona in Usulutan, El Salvador.
The Baraona family have owned the land where Los Pirineos is located for 120 years.
The family lost much of their land during El Salvador’s civil war in the 1980’s.
After the civil war Gilberto took over the family business, focussing on high quality coffee and research.
Gilberto now owns 5 farms in the Usulutan region, which between them have placed in Cup of Excellence 17 times, including a 2nd place this year.
The first coffee is a naturally processed Pacamara varietal, floral with soft rosehips and a crisp dark chocolate finish.
The second coffee is a clean and round washed Bourbon, with clean fresh apricot notes and a sticky butterscotch character.
1 x coffee
Natural Pacamara (250g)
2 x coffee
Natural Pacamara (250g) &
Washed Bourbon (250g)
Award winning farm
After our trip to visit Gilberto at Los Pirineos in March 2019, we are excited that his coffees have arrived at the roastery and are tasting delicious. A genuine and passionate coffee producer, Gilberto Baraona is always keen to share his experiments with new varietals and processes at his award winning farm, and each new endeavour is executed with trademark precision. Gilberto’s success in competitions such as Cup of Excellence is testament to this. The wide range of high quality coffees he produces makes him a sought after producer within the speciality industry, and his farm name graces the bags of many top quality roasters around the world. The two lots we are sharing this month are great examples of this, a clean and sweet Bourbon, and a wild natural Pacamara that we really hope you enjoy brewing at home
Stay Bright and Curious - John Gibson
What is happening at
Welcome to your November subscription, where we are excited to present further fruits of our Central America sourcing trip in March this year. After Costa Rica, our bar manager in Aarhus, Veronika Julínková, continued to visit our partners in both Guatemala and El Salvador. It is the Salvadoran leg of the trip that we are focussing on this month, with two coffees from the renowned Los Pirineos farm in the southern part of the country. As we enjoy the results of one trip, we are preparing for another. Benjamin Evar, partner, is travelling to Colombia together with our roaster John Gibson to visit our partners at LaREB and Cafe Granja La Esperanza, who subscribers may recognise from previous packs. Cementing connections with these talented professionals is an important part of what we do, allowing us access to our favourite lots, and inspiring us in how to best present their work. We hope to present both the coffees and stories from these trips in future subscription packs, and look forward to sharing our experiences.
The Los Pirineos farm has been in the Baraona family for over 120 years, having been started in 1890. The farm is named for the Pyrenees mountain range that separates France and Spain, as the family thought that the landscape was very similar. The family ran the coffee farms for generations growing lower grade coffee, keeping the family going until the brutal Salvadoran Civil war of the 1980’s. During this period the Baraona family lost 90% of their land, and it fell on the current owner Gilberto to rebuild and refocus efforts on the farm. Gilberto Baraona is a fourth generation coffee producer, who now owns and runs 5 farms. These farms are all located between 1200 and 1550 masl on the Tecapa volcano, just outside the town of Berlin in the Usulutan region of south eastern El Salvador. Los Pirineos is the flagship of the project, with the highest altitude and widest selection of varietals, many rather rare. Gilberto now grows more than 17 varietals, and is a World Coffee Research accredited centre for testing experimental new varietals, and for genetic blueprints for iconic varietals such as the Bourbon and Pacamara you are receiving this month. The selection grown in Gilberto’s varietal garden now include Geishas, Ethiopian varietals and even a mutated varietal with 7 seeds per cherry, that Gilberto was keen to show us on our visit this year.
All of the coffee from these farms is processed at the Tecapa mill, located just down the slopes from the Pirineos farm, at 1400 masl on the volcano from which it takes its name. Tecapa was built in 2014, specially designed to process high quality micro lot coffees, and takes cleanliness and systems very seriously. Gilberto compares the operation to a fine dining restaurant, where preparation and systems in the kitchen help to deliver the highest possible quality of final product with minimal stress during service (or harvest) time. This level of control and precision requires a well trained staff, so Gilberto employs a full time staff of over 50 year-round, along with some seasonal workers during the harvest period, both on the farms and in the mill. They are all paid well above the minimum wage for the high quality of work expected from them. The high pay and good conditions mean even the seasonal workers tend to return year after year. All of this hard work leads to some of the best coffee in El Salvador, Gilberto’s farms have placed in the El Salvador Cup of Excellence 17 times, including a second place this year with a washed Bourbon from Pirineos.
1st coffee - El Salvador
Los Pirineos Natural Pacamara
White Rose, Rosehip and Dark Chocolate
Costa Rica (250g / 8.8oz)
The Pacamara varietal is a proud part of El Salvador’s coffee growing culture. Although the varietal is now grown across South and Central America, it originated in El Salvador, and Salvadorans maintain that the highest quality Pacamaras grow there. It is a cross between 2 varietals, Pacas and Maragogype. The Pacas varietal is a natural mutation of Bourbon, that causes the plant to grow much shorter, so it is easier to pick and can be planted in closer proximity, leading to higher yields per hectare. The varietal is named for the Pacas family, one of the most well known producers of coffee in El Salvador. Pacas was discovered on their farm San Rafael in 1956, and as well as higher yields, the varietal also appeared to be resistant to many diseases and climate conditions. The Salvadoran Coffee Institute was at the time very interested in the Maragogype varietal, which was producing very high quality cups across El Salvador, but was very susceptible to disease and climatic changes such as frosts. After hearing of the discovery of Pacas, the Salvadoran Coffee Institute decided to create a new varietal, aiming to keep the great cup quality from the Maragogype, but incorporate the disease resistance of Pacas. They named their project Pacamara, combining the two names. The project took nearly 30 years, through generations of crossing, but in the late 80’s, the final version of the Pacamara variety was released to farmers. The variety is now popular in countries such as Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua and obviously El Salvador, leading to diverse flavour profiles, depending on how and where the coffee is grown and processed, but is often very fruit-driven, with some herbal and floral notes. The quality is almost always very high, and Pacamaras have placed highly in and won Cup of Excellence in several countries, El Salvador being no exception. In fact, a Pacamara has won the Salvadoran national competition outright in five of the previous six years. This lot from the slopes of Los Pirineos was naturally processed at the Tecapa mill, and showcases the potential of the varietal. The florals are present here as soft white rose, while the natural process brings soft rosehip fruit and a pleasantly dry chocolate character.
2nd coffee - El Salvador
Los Pirineos Washed Bourbon
Apricot, Chocolate and Butterscotch
(250g / 8.8oz)
The Bourbon varietal is descended from a small set of varietals taken out of Ethiopia and cultivated in Yemen in the 1600’s. This creates somewhat of a genetic ‘bottleneck’ for coffee, coming from incredibly diverse within Ethiopia, to almost 98% of coffee production in Latin America comprising of plants descended from just two varieties, Bourbon and Typica. These were the first ever cultivated coffee varietals, isolated from wild growing coffee in Ethiopia, and slowly used to populate the coffee growing lands of Yemen, India, and then the New World as it was colonised by Europeans. Bourbon arrived in Latin America from Yemen via the French Island of Réunion, at that point known as Bourbon. This expertly produced washed lot of Bourbon from Los Pirineos is a quintessential Salvadoran Bourbon. Heavy and sticky sweet, with both butterscotch and milk chocolate character, the cup is punctuated by a top note of fresh apricot. One of the finest examples of this varietal we have yet tasted.
A genuine and passionate coffee producer
After our trip to visit Gilberto at Los Pirineos in March 2019, we are excited that his coffees have arrived at the roastery and are tasting delicious. A genuine and passionate coffee producer, Gilberto Baraona is always keen to share his experiments with new varietals and processes at his award winning farm, and each new endeavour is executed with trademark precision. Gilberto’s success in competitions such as Cup of Excellence is testament to this. The wide range of high quality coffees he produces makes him a sought after producer within the speciality industry, and his farm name graces the bags of many top quality roasters around the world. The two lots we are sharing this month are great examples of this, a clean and sweet Bourbon, and a wild natural Pacamara that we really hope you enjoy brewing at home.
Stay bright and curious - John Gibson
Two Unique Coffees Every Month
La Cabra is a modern coffee roastery based out of Aarhus and Copenhagen, Denmark. Every month we ship out two unique coffee experiences and provide insight into how these coffees were grown and processed by talented producers.Subscribe Learn More coffee line-up