El Salvador is recovering from a civil war, which ironically preserved many of the traditional varieties of arabica like bourbon from replacement with more modern, sun-grown hybrid coffee varieties. Most El Salvadors are soft, ingratiating coffees with relatively subdued acidity, much like many Mexico and Central America coffees grown on ocean-influenced slopes and valleys. Nevertheless, these El Salvador coffees can be fine, if gentle: abundant in fragrancy and seductive aroma. Occasionally an El Salvador coffee appears powerful, deep, and fine acidy body .
Most of El Salvador farms and cooperatives, grow the intriguing hybrid variety pacamara, a tree that produces a large bean that is a cross between the extremely large-beaned maragogipe and a local strain of the caturra variety called paca. From an aficionado point of view, pacamara is a fascinating hybrid because it is superior in cup quality to either of its parent varieties. From a coffee drinker’s point of view, the large bean makes an interesting curiosity and the soft but complex cup gives some sensual support to the conversation-invoking potential of the bean size.
The best grade of El Salvador coffee is Strictly High Grown (SHG). Most El Salvador coffee is grown in various degrees of shade. Here are some of the most significant varieties:
1. Variety Tekisic
Tekisic variety (improved bourbon) comes from the selection process of the traditional Bourbon variety, started in 1949. In 1973, the cultivating of elite plants was established at the Experimental Station (Santa Tecla), it was released as a commercial variety TEKISIC in 1976 for its ideal production characteristics and cup quality. TEKISIC It is made up of the words: TEKITI means work in the Nahuat language, and ISIC, which is the acronym for the Salvadoran Institute for Coffee Research. It is the main cultivated variety of the country with approximately 50% of the total area. The main characteristics are: tall tree, abundant lateral, flexible stem, medium leaves, large red fruit, excellent drink quality, citrus and fruit flavors prevail.
2. Variety Pacas.
It originated from a mutation of the traditional Bourbon, discovered in 1949 in the San Rafael estate, Palo Campana canton (Santa Ana Volcano), Santa Ana department, owned by the Pacas family. At that time the plant caught the attention of coffee growers for its compact morphological appearance and they called it in several ways: Arabian hybrid with San Ramón, Cafeto del Norte and Cafeto del Viento, later it was assigned the name PACAS variety, in honor of family name on whose property the variety was identified.
In the year 1,960, the ISIC (Salvadoran Institute for Coffee Research) began the study of PACAS, with the objective of observing the morphological differences with respect to the cultivars CATURRA ROJO (Brazil) and VILLA SARCHI (Costa Rica), concluding that they are genetically similar. The PACAS variety is distributed in 27% of the country's total. Its main characteristics are: Low bearing, with lateral branches that form an angle of 45 degrees. Abundant foliage, brightly colored. Tolerance to drought, wind and sun problems. The fruit is red in color, of excellent drink quality. It is best adapted to altitudes of 500 to 1,100 meters above sea level.
3. Variety Pacamara.
In 1958 the ISIC began work on the genetic improvement of the coffee tree through the hybridization process, using the Pacas and Maragogipe Rojo varieties as parents.
The procedure of this work done in El Salvador, consisted of individual selection by plant until obtaining mother plants that gave rise to nine lines, which due to their phenotypic appearance, production, yield, fruit size and adaptability, were matters of interest continuing with its evaluation in different coffee areas of the country, until it comes to form a physical mix of the selected lines and thus obtain a new variety called PACAMARA. The successful launch of this one, took place in the early 80s in the fifth generation (F5).
Size: Intermediate to slightly high (in relation to Pacas and Maragogipe).
Fruits of intermediate size, increasing their size at a higher height, of red color, elongated type and with the navel of the bulky fruit. Large grains with a size of 0.90 cm. long, 0.69 cm. width, thickness 0.36 cm.
Organoleptic qualities: Impressive aroma with a note of floral chocolate and honey.
Excellent acidity, very fine and with brilliance. Sweet chocolate flavor, complex.
Pleasant long aftertaste with a sweet note (honey) and notes of cinnamon.
Attribute of Taste of Jasmine and peach. Coffee with very particular exotic characteristics.
The coffee of the Pacamara variety, in addition to its physiological structure that brings benefits to the environment, is a product that, due to its high quality, is being quoted more and more in the most demanding markets, providing producers with greater profitability and offering benefits. additional to society, becoming an example of innovation and creativity within the region's coffee sector.
4. Variety Red Catuai.
Es originaria de Brasil y es el resultado del cruce CATURRA AMARILLO por MUNDO NOVO.
Fue introducida al país en la década de los años setenta, pero antes de liberarla, el ISIC inició, un proceso de evaluación y selección, obteniéndose muy buenos resultados en adaptabilidad, rendimiento y calidad de bebida.
Sus características principales son: Planta vigorosa de porte bajo, menos compacta y más alta que la variedad PACAS. Laterales largos y entrenudos cortos, con abundante ramificación y tendencia a la formación de crinolinas (palmillas), con hojas ligeramente redondeadas y brillantes, brotes y hojas de color verde. Alta capacidad productiva, con fruto de color rojo y/o amarillo y de excelente calidad de bebida, incrementando sus cualidades gustativas cuando es cultivado en condiciones de estricta altura. Las condiciones óptimas de altitud para su cultivo inicia desde 600 hasta 1,200 msnm.
It is native from Brazil and is the result of crossing varieties of CATURRA AMARILLO by MUNDO NOVO. It was introduced to El Salvador in the 1970s, but before releasing it, the ISIC (Salvadoran Institute for Coffee Research) began an evaluation and selection process, obtaining very good results in adaptability, performance and drink quality.
Its main characteristics are: Vigorous plant of low bearing, less compact and higher than the PACAS variety. Long laterals and short internodes, with abundant branching, shoots and green leaves. High productive capacity, with red and / or yellow fruit and excellent drink quality, increasing its taste qualities when grown under conditions of strict height. The optimal altitude conditions for cultivation start from 600 to 1,200 masl.
5. Variety Cuzcatleco.
It originates from the cross between the Timor hybrid and the Villa Sarchi coffee variety (T5296), the characteristics are: strong and deep root system, very vigorous shape, conical in shape, long sides and short internodes, dense foliage, large deep green leaves, resistant and early to produce. The fruits are red, resistant to falling due to the effects of rain, large and elongated. The planting altitude range ranges from 600 to 1,200 meters above sea level, with pleasant drink quality.
6. Variety Icatú.
This variety is obtained from the artificial chromosome duplication of the Canephora species and then it was crossed with the Bourbon variety, it was originally called "Arabusta", later this "Arabusta" was retro-crossed with the Mundo Novo variety, giving rise to the ICATÚ. It is a variety that is evaluated in EL Salvador as promising in production, adaptability and pleasant cup quality.