El Salvador Bernardina
Finca El Retiro-Bernardina Natural
LOCATION: Cantón Buenos Aires, Municipio de Chalchuapa
REGION: Santa Ana
FARM MANAGER: Andres Palma
FARM AREA: 18.9 hectares
SOIL CLASSIFICATION: loamy
Altitude: 1,400 masl
Drying Method: Raised beds
Drying time: 14 days
Number of Bernardina Trees: 1,725
From Cafe Pacas:
We bought Finca Los Bellotos at the end of 2012. We decided to invest in purchasing this farm because of its location and varieties.
When we first saw the farm, we fell in love with the land, the views, the people...Finca Los Bellotos is located in the western part of a volcano called “Cerro Verde”. Elevation ranges between 1,400 and 1,600 masl. Facing the Izalco Volcano, it is protected from wind by this massive giant neighbor.
Ruperto, the farm manager, mentioned that he had noticed these particular trees growing in the farm. He said that when he tasted their fruit, their flavor was distinct.
We decided to taste for ourselves those “peculiar” cherries that Ruperto was describing. He was right. When we did, we were amazed by their sweetness. We were tasting notes of peach, papaya and mango in the pulp.
We immediately marked all the “different” trees that we could find in the farm, 46 in total.
December 16, 2013 was the night we received at our mill, Beneficio Vivagua, half a bag of the special cherries. A night we will never forget. While we were pulping the cherries the smell of fruit was overwhelming. Everyone, including the truck driver, came close. They were curious what that smell was. We placed the parchment on raised beds to dry. We knew it was special. Some of the seed was used for nursery.
When it was ready, we cupped it. It had well defined and unconventional attributes. It is a sweet, elegant, citric coffee. With notes of mandarin, peach ginger and lemon tea. Creamy and mouth-watering.
We did not know what variety it was so we decided to test it’s DNA. A sample was sent to a lab in Italy: Analytica. Results came back, and the coffee’s DNA did not correspond to any documented variety. We had the task of naming this new finding.
We decided to name the varietal in honor of the person who had pointed out the trees to us. His name is Ruberto Bernardino Merche. The new variety was named “Bernardina”.
We have planted Bernardina in five different farms at different altitudes and with different microclimates. We process it as washed, honey and natural. In 2019 Bernardina competed at El Salvador COE placing 3rd in the competition. We have high hopes for Bernardina... It is very special!
HISTORY FINCA EL RETIRO:
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.