El Retiro

  • Country
    El Salvador
  • Region
    Apaneca-Ilamatepec Mountain Range
  • Town
    Cantón Buenos Aires, El Retiro Volcano
  • Altitude
    1,412m above sea level
  • Farm Size
    30.85 hectares
  • Variety
    Red Bourbon
  • Processing
    Fully washed
  • Owner
    The Pacas Family
  • Awards
    Cup of Excellence (2006)

Complex and floral with green apple acidity, sugarcane sweetness and notes of honey and orange.

Finca El Retiro was founded in 1927 by Fernando Alberto Pacas Figueroa, and some of the Bourbon trees that he first established here still yield fruit to this day. The farm has since passed down four generations and is now owned and managed by Alfredo Pacas and his family: it is one of several small estates that the family owns and manages in this privileged location high in El Salvador’s rich, cool Apaneca-Ilamatepec Mountain Range.

Alfredo has passed this heritage and a love for coffee farming to his children – Alfredo and Maria – who bring an energy and modern approach to coffee production that is passionate and quality focused. They have a clear vision for the specialty coffee sector in El Salvador and, specifically, their own farms and are continuously pushing the boundaries to improve quality, mixing traditional best practice (like using the agobio method of pruning, implementing careful soil and shade management, & use of older varietals) with cutting edge quality control systems and techniques. Management and record keeping from harvest to harvest are notable for their stringency and scientific approach.

El Retiro’s 100% Bourbon coffee grows under a protective canopy of shade, made up of indigenous tree varieties such as the leguminous balsam and ingas. Both of these trees are chosen for their heavy leaf fall, which provides a rich, natural mulch that both inhibits undergrowth and fertilises the trees. The farm is also home to many different animals including squirrels, armadillos, wild cats and quails.

The coffee is hand-picked only when perfectly ripe and is delivered to the Pacas’ family wet mill, Vidagua, on the same day that it is picked. The coffee is then pulped and fermented before being fully washed in clean water and then dried in the sun.

The farm employs 24 permanent workers and provides seasonal work for a further 105 temporary workers at the peak of the harvest. Free medical care is offered to all of the farm’s employees.

El Retiro was a finalist at the Cup of Excellence in 2006. The farm is certified under ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 9001-2000, which helps to ensure traceability and further improve quality.