This Nicaraguan Pacamara coffee comes to you from the highly regarded Los Congos farm in the San Fernando Mountains of the famed coffee growing region of Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua. Los Congos is a small farm owned by the Paguaga family who has been one of the leading coffee producing families in Nicaragua for over 90 years and spanning four generations.
Established in 1997, the Paguaga’s Los Congos farm has consistently received international recognition for outstanding quality coffee by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) with multiple top-ten finishes in its annual Cup of Excellence competition–including a Presidential Award for 90+ points for this Pacamara in 2010 and a 2nd place overall (out of 370 farms) when they last competed in 2011.
How they got here
Family patriarch, Jose Rene Paguaga has been farming coffee since he was a teenager working his father’s farm in the 1930s. He soon planted his own farm which he grew into one of the top producers in all of Nicaragua. Then during the Nicaraguan Civil War in 1979, the Paguaga family’s farm and property were taken away by the radical government. Because of the civil war, “Don” Rene was forced to leave his homeland and move to Honduras where he established a new coffee farm. In ten years he grew this farm from a couple of acres to 100. A decade later the war ended, and Don Rene sold his Honduran farm to move back home and re-establish his coffee business in Nicaragua. Unable to recover his original farm, Don Rene had to start again. He found a piece of rugged, underdeveloped land at a desirable high elevation in close proximity to his former location. This was to become Finca Los Congos. Today, 25 years later, Don Rene and the Paguaga family, through their unrelenting dedication to their craft, have once again established themselves as one of the premier coffee producers in the whole country.
What makes the Paguaga family and the Los Congos farm exceptional?
The Paguagas draw upon a wealth of knowledge and experience gained through 90 years of growing the absolute best coffee they can.
A family of innovators. Don Rene was the first to ever plant the Pacamara varietal in Nicaragua. His visionary approach also led to other innovations: To better control quality from harvest until export, they established the region’s first ever wet/dry milling process at their farms and at their mill, Beneficio Santa Lucila, in their hometown of Ocotal. The mill is uniquely equipped with a modern cupping lab, which they use to taste-test the coffee to closely monitor quality and identify exceptional micro-lots according to harvest day and varietal!
Coffee Quality Ambassadors
Through their mill and cupping lab, the family supports other small coffee farms by providing technical and operational guidance, financial assistance, and access to international markets, opportunities that these farmers would otherwise not have.
The Pacamara varietal is a standout among standouts
Pacamara is a genetic cross breed of the Pacas and Red Maragogipe coffee varietals that was created in a lab by the El Salvador Institute for Coffee Research in 1958. After 30 years of testing and evaluating the results for quality flavor and heartiness in the field, the Pacamara varietal was released to coffee farmers in El Salvador. The majority of Pacamara is still found only there. However, as it has gained fame by winning various coffee tasting competitions over the last decade, it has spread to being planted in small plots in other countres. Being the coffee visionaries that they are, the Paguaga family with their establishment of Finca Los Congos in 1997, were the first to plant Pacamara in their country. They continued to plant Pacamara steadily over the years, and the varietal now makes up 70% of the coffee trees on Los Congos. This is thought to be the largest planting of Pacamara in all of Nicaragua.
For more information about Finca Los Congos and Beneficio Santa Lucila, please visit Cafe Vidita