Roberto Ulloa is a fourth-generation coffee producer with solid technical coffee farming skills due to his degree in agronomy, and great passion for quality coffee. Hence, it is no surprise that coffees from La Divina have been endorsed several times being in top ten Cup of Excellence, and recently winning the 2020 CoE for El Salvador.
This is our second year bring coffee from La Divina. Roberto selectively harvests and processes by varietal separation. All beans are harvested by hand and dried on site at La Divina farm. This lot is a honey processed pacamara bean. After picking, the skin of the coffee cherries was removed and the fruit flesh (mucilage) was left covering the beans to go through a controlled fermentation phase. The skin of the coffee cherry is removed but part of the fruit mucilage is left covering the bean. The fruit mucilage is sweet and sticky, just like honey. The beans were then sun dried on raised beds for 14-21 days, and during the drying period the beans must be frequently moved to ensure even drying.
This pacamara honey starts with a citric brightness just the right acidity level that gets balanced right away by a smooth and silky sweet finish. Pacamara also have a distinctive dense body that is hard to match. This coffee is great for pour over methods as it has many flavor layers.
The story of La Divina farm is remarkable. With great vision for specialty coffee and an unwavering commitment, Roberto has done an incredible job of reviving La Divina coffee farm since he purchased it in 2007. About half of the 145 acres had been abandoned for nearly three decades, and over the years Roberto has been bringing the farm back up to production. La Divina today is planted with Kenyan (SL-28), Gesha, Red Bourbon, and Pacamara. Most of bourbon was lost to leaf rust (‘roya’ in Spanish) when the disease reached epidemic levels in 2013-14, Roberto has been replanting the lost areas since and particularly increasing areas dedicated to his favorite Kenyan variety. Roberto has built his own micro-mill on the farm to have control over the quality of processing to preserve all flavor characteristics of the crop. All beans are handpicked, and sun-dried on raised beds. La Divina provides permanent employment for 15-20 people year-round, and during picking season October through Ferbruary, some 40 to 60 pickers are needed.
La Divina is located in the Apaneca-Ilamatepec mountain range, near the three volcanos Cerro Verde, Izalco and Santa Ana and overlooking a large crater lake, Lago de Coatepeque. The region of Apaneca-Ilamatepec is known for its fantastic conditions for growing coffee due to its cool micro-climate and rich volcanic soils. The mountain slopes are covered in lush forest providing crucial habitat for migrating birds and fauna, and fertile volcanic soil has been generated throughout various eruptions. Unique, cool micro-climate in the region is created when the warm air from the Pacific Ocean collides with the high peaks of the Volcanoes Park. Coffee is a shade loving plant and the mist surrounding this region reduces the amount of sunlight the coffee trees receive, which helps to improve the ripening process which ultimately impact the aroma, sweetness, acidity and flavor in the final brew.
Apaneca-Ilamatepec mountain range was declared as biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2007 as it is home to several unique volcanoes, hosts important ecosystems for conservation and has highly diverse habitat. Most of the existing forest covering these mountains are associated with shade-grown coffee production, hence supporting this type of agroforestry has an incredible positive impact on the region in preserving the nature and in providing economic opportunities.