Amber Specialty Blend

Cafe Pacas

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El Salvador
Cafe Pacas
Process type
Altitude range
1200m - 1700m
Harvest period
January, 2021 - March, 2021
Algrano's cupping score (SCA)
83.75 points
Updated February, 2021
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The coffee story

The Amber Blend is one of three types of specialty blends developed by the Pacas family at their mill, Beneficio Vivagua, since the beginning of the pandemic. Seeing the market's uncertainty and contracts being cancelled, the family decided to innovate their drying processes, hire new staff and revamp their portfolio. Part of this revamping was to create three specialty blends with efficiencies that would allow them to be marketed at more competitive prices.

The blends are:

- Saphire Blend Fully Washed Bourbon (75%) and Pacas (25%)
- Amber Blend Honey Bourbon (100%)
- Rubi Blend Natural Bourbon and Pacamara

These blends come from various farms (the family has 10 farms in total and provides services for another 10) at a minimum altitude of 1.200 m above sea level. They are SHG following the European Preparation with 0 primary defects and up to 10 secondary defects. The family also launched a line of high commercials called Familia Pacas. 

This approach doesn't mean the family moved their focus from high-quality coffee. Much the opposite. Their blends continue to yield a great cup of coffee with the sweetness and syrupy body that are characteristic of Salvadoran coffee, especially of the Bourbon variety. Famous for discovering the Pacas variety and later the Bernardina variety,  the family continues to produce a wide range of micro and nano-lots. The specialty micro-lots are separated by farm, variety and process. The nano-lots or "boutique coffees" include exotic varieties, African varieties and special processes which result in outstanding cupping profiles.

"This is the first year we will start drying coffees at the farms, where the temperature and the humidity are lower than at the mill. We installed new raised beds and changed the mesh to a silky screen, allowing the coffee to move easily and preventing the mucilage or skin to be removed during raking. We also hired a specialist in specialty projects in October 2020 to develop new protocols for our honeys and naturals and he brought lots of new ideas," says Maria Pacas. 

The process

Manual picking and hand sorting of the cherries to ensure optimum ripeness. The cherries are machine pulped and spread on the patio in a thick layer, allowing the parchment to be in contact with the mucilage for longer. This is a new approach to honeys at Beneficio Vivagua. Before this, all honeys used to be laid on the patio in thin layers and the racking process would loosen the mucilage, interfering with the process.