Intelligentsia Coffee

El Salvador Pacamara Los Planes

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Origin: El Salvador

Roast: Medium

Est. Price:

Review Date: December 2006

Agtron: 49/60

Aroma: 9

Acidity: 9

Body: 8

Flavor: 10

Aftertaste: 9

Blind Assessment:

Cocoa laced with citrus in the aroma. Flavors are as complex and sculpted as a top Alsatian Riesling, with intense lemon and orange acidity, chocolate, and a suggestion of fresh chive or tarragon always associated with this variety. A powerful, aristocratic grand cru. This fragile, low-density variety is a major challenge to roast (and cannot handle dark roasting); this is a particularly masterful roasting job.


A prize winner in the 2006 El Salvador Cup of Excellence competition, where as a green (unroasted) coffee it placed second out of hundreds of entries, attracting a score of 93.52 from an international jury. Produced from trees of the Pacamara variety at an elevation of approximately 5,300 feet by farmer Sergio Edmundo Ticas Reyes on the Los Planes farm. While El Salvador is rightly famous for consistently producing excellent coffee from the traditional Bourbon variety of Arabica, it has lately become famous for a smaller production of high-altitude pacamara (a cross of the large-beaned Maragogipe variety with native Pacas). Intelligentsia is a distinguished Chicago-based specialty roaster and a leader in sourcing and roasting small, exceptional lots of coffee, including competition winners like this one. Visit www.intelligentsiacoffee.com or call 888-945-9786 for more information.

Who Should Drink It: To be brewed reverentially in a vacuum pot by those who value power and complexity above all else.

This review originally appeared in the December, 2006 tasting report: Price, Quality and Value: Questioning Competition Coffees

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