cherry hard candy, sugar cane, dried plum
alt: 1700 MASL
farm: Finca Loma La Gloria
producer: Anny Ruth
A great challenge the future of coffee production faces is the growing age of farmers across the globe. In Central America, the average coffee farmer is 58 years old. This beckons the question: when these farmers retire, who will grow the coffee? Younger generations are moving towards different fields of employment, and the threat of coffee farms becoming abandoned is very real. This makes the work of young Anny Ruth Pimental all the more important and exciting.
Finca Loma La Gloria was established in the late nineties by Anny’s father, Roberto Pimental. A trained civil engineer and practiced businessman, Roberto named the farm after his grandfather’s estate. The farm is located in El Boquerón near San Salvador, on the Quezaltepec Volcano and spans between 1200 - 1750 meters above sea level and is 219 acres large. Varieties grown on the farm include Pacamara and Bourbon, with some trees up to 60 years old. In 2001, Roberto completed construction of a mill on the property. The potential of this mill was never fully realized, though, as it was never put into operation. Instead, coffee cherries from the farm were sold to other local mills, meaning traceability to Finca Loma La Gloria was lost.
This changed in 2012 when Anny took over operations at the farm. From the get-go Anny’s focus was on improving quality and creating traceability from the farm. The mill was put into operation, allowing the coffee cherries to be processed onsite, as either washed, honey, or naturals. The coffee is then dried before being allowed to rest in parchment. Lots are sample roasted and cupped throughout the season to track quality and gain insight on changes that might need to be made to processing. When the coffee is ready for export, its dry milled to remove the parchment and packaged into GrainPro lined burlap bags. By keeping control of the coffee from cherry to export, Finca Loma La Gloria is able to consistently produce a quality product year to year.
Pacamara is a unique variety known for its exceptional cup quality and unusually large seed size. While it can be found growing throughout Central America, it is primarily grown in El Salvador where it frequently dominates the Cup of Excellence competition. The variety itself is actually a cross between the Pacas variety and Maragogype variety.
Pacas is a natural mutation of Bourbon, and was first discovered in 1949 in the Santa Ana region of El Salvador. It contains a mutation causing the tree to grow smaller than standard Arabicas. This allows the trees to be planted closer together, creating a potential higher yield of coffee cherry per acre. For this reason, the Salvadoran Institute for Coffee Research began a program to stabilize the variety’s genetics. As a result, Pacas now totals around 25% of El Salvador’s coffee production.
The second variety, Maragogype (also spelled Maragogipe) is a natural mutation of Typica discovered in Brazil in 1870. This variety is know for its large seed, wide internode spacing and leaves. While its cup quality has great potential, it tends to be low yielding.
The intent of creating the Pacamara variety was to capture the best of both Pacas, with its potential for high yields per acre, and Maragogype, for its exceptional cup quality. This endeavor was started by the Salvadoran Institute for Coffee Research in 1958. Roughly 30 years later, the Pacamara variety was stable enough to be released to coffee producers in the late 1980s.
One of the great advantages of direct trade relationships is the ability to impact the workers and communities associated with our producing partners. By having a direct line of communication, producers can communicate the needs of the community, allowing us to reinvest in ways that make a significant impact. Recently Bird Rock Coffee Roasters donated environmentally friendly ovens to a school local to Finca Loma La Gloria. These ovens have been used to teach 40 students practical business skills. The students are teamed up in groups, with each group making up a “company.” Each company is assigned a time slot to use the ovens throughout the year, and a small amount of capital to buy supplies, such as flour, eggs, and sugar. Each company sell their baked goods to the local community, paying back the school the initial investment money for supplies, then reinvesting in their company, and finally equally dividing profits to take home to their families. The benefits of this program teach entrepreneurship, familiarize the students with how to run business, and provide them skills for future employment.