Finca El Retiro
REGION: Santa Ana
FARM MANAGER: Andres Palma FARM AREA: 18.90 hectares SOIL CLASSIFICATION: loamy WEATHER: Tropical TOPOGRAPHY: Hilly LATITUDE: 13°53'58.11"N LONGITUDE: 89°38'49.05"O LOCATION: Cantón Buenos Aires, Municipio de Chalchuapa
Finca El Retiro is its own volcano. It forms part of the APANECA ILAMATEPEC mountain range. This farm has been COE winner and has belonged to the Pacas family since 1927. It is cultivated with Bourbon, Pacamara and Bernardina varietals. It’s shade is very diverse, apart from the Inga Trees, it also has a variety of mountain trees that are endangered. The purpose of doing this is to create a diversity of botanical species. Because of its location, it produces spectacular coffees, all of them unique and special.
Finca El Retiro has belonged to our family for five generations. There is a lot of history because that is the place where our family grew and learned how to love coffee. Also, this farm provides jobs for 24 families in the community. The people working at Finca El Retiro are very proud of the coffee they produce. They make big efforts in caring for the trees, preparing the soil and harvesting the coffees at their optimal point of ripeness.
A total of 35 people work permanently at Finca El Retiro. They all have families that depend on their work at the farm for subsistence. As a company, Café Pacas is committed to providing them with good working conditions, decent wages, trainings, etc. In order to do this, we recognize the importance of listening to what the people that work at the farms have to say. They are the ones in permanent contact with the land, and most of the innovations at the farm level come from them. For this reason, every month we organize a lunch with each farm’s team. In those lunches we sit like a family and chat. We listen to their ideas, needs, and dreams. We encourage them to strive towards quality and in the end, we share a cup of coffee from that farm; coffee that was produced by them!
Café Pacas is a committed company, willing to contribute in a positive manner to our society in order to be sustainable. Since 2012, we have developed a social responsibility strategy, partnering with 2 NPO’s: FUNPRES and FORJA. These programs focused on wellness and education, providing farm workers with different skills and assistance and creating a more peaceful environment in the communities. A total of 250 have benefited from these programs. The Café Pacas family is committed to contribute socially and economically in our society. The support of our clients and friends to grow our social responsibility program is crucial in in reshaping our beautiful El Salvador.
In 2016 we started an internal competition called “PAC’s” which stand for “Premios Alfredo a la Calidad”. The purpose of this event is to motivate farm managers to increase the quality of the coffees that each is producing at their farm. Each farm manager chooses which coffee they want to submit and a panel of judges evaluates the different samples. When the results are in, we organize a very special award ceremony where the winning coffees are anounced. The farm manager that owns that coffee is awarded with a Price.
Due to Covid-19 Pandemic, in 2020 as Café Pacas we have invested in educating our people on the prevention of the desease. People at the farms are given masks, hand sanitizers, access to soap and water to constantly wash their hands. We are also periodically reminding them on how to take care of themselves and their families in order to boost their immune system and stay safe.
- Re-planting of the farm using high quality varietals of coffee
- Diversified shade trees
- Digging “fosas”, which are holes that capture water and organic matter into the acquifers.
- Using Green-approved fertilizers
- No hunting
- Soil erosion prevention
Finca El Retiro is planted with the following varietals: Red Bourbon
(predominant), Pacamara, Bernardina. All of them are harvested and processed separately.
YEARLY AVERAGE RAINFALL: 2,000 mm TYPE OF SOIL: Loam AVERAGE AGE OF THE TREES: We have trees that are over 100 years old, and some new plantings that are between 2-5 years old.
ALTITUDE: 1,301-1,470 masl SIZE OF THE FARM: 18.9 Ha PROCESS: honey, washed, natural CERTIFICATIONS: None AWARDS:15th place COE 2007
Bernardina was discovered in 2012 in a Farm called Los Bellotos. When we tasted it we knew it was a very special varietal with unique characteristics. The varietal was named “Bernardina” to honor Ruperto Bernardino Merche, the farm manager who pointed out the original trees.
In 2014 we decided to plant 1,725 trees of Bernardina in Finca El Retiro. 2019 was the 2nd year that we have a harvest of Bernardina from this farm.
This year we decided to process half of the production as natural and the other half as washed. We did this is order to learn more about how the varietal behaves depending on the process.
This is a promisory varietal, winner of 3rd place COE in 2019, Finca La Esperanza.
Our plans for Bernardina is to continue planting more trees, and experiment in different processing ways to enhance it’s quality.
Finca El Retiro is the first farm where we planted Pacamara. We did it as an experiment in a very small plot, 10 years ago. This varietal adapts well to the farm’s microclimate, producing an over the top cup profile.
In 2014 we decided to expand the production of Pacamara and we planted 4.55 hectares of this variety. We decided to process it honey.
The coffee cherries were picked at their optimal ripeness, and then moved to our mill Vivagua.
At night the cherries were pulped and put directly in the patio for drying.
All the mucilage was stuck to the parchment, creating a dark-colored bean. The combination of the varietal with the process results in a fantastic cup of coffee
Bourbon is the original varietal that was planted in Finca El Retiro. In this farm you can find some Bourbon trees that are more than 70 year old.
The microclimate of the farm is ideal for bourbon, and eventhough this is a varietal that is succeptible to leaf rust and other deseases, the cup quality is exceptional. In Finca El Retiro, the Bourbon trees are managed using the agovio method. This is a farming practice that is very complex and sophisticated. However the farm manager and his team are expert caretakers of agovio trees. This year, half of the Bourbon production was processed as honey and the other half was processed as Natural.