Considered an “exotic superstar,” the Pacamara variety is a rare hybrid of Pacas and Red Maragogype beans, created in a coffee breeding improvement program by the Salvadoran Institute for Coffee Research. This cup comes from Finca Kassandra in the Huatusco region of Veracruz, where workers have their own housing facilities, day care, and medical care. Only eight percent of their 600 hectares is dedicated to Pacamara, making it an exceptional microlot. With more than thirty years of growing experience, the Rivas family has learned to produce a round, complex cup.
Finca Kassandra, established in 1996 by the Rivas family, is located in the central region of the state of Veracruz near Totutla and Huatusco in Mexico. Of the finca’s 600 hectares, about 320 are dedicated to coffee production–Macadamia nuts being another primary crop. Of the coffee production, 8% is Pacamara, which is separated and impeccably milled.
Finca Kassanra is also dedicated to preserving and existing in harmony with the surrounding rain forest and is RFA certified.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Mexico Finca Kassandra, from PERC Coffee in Savannah, Georgia. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Veracruz, Mexico
farm: Finca Kassandra
producer: Rivas Family
elevation: 1500 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, patio dried
certifications: Rainforest Alliance
The aroma of the of the Mexico Finca Kassandra is warm, spicy, and sweet. Its scents of cinnamon, red apple, and brown sugar have me thinking of warm cider or fresh apple pie.
The first few sips of the coffee immediately post-brew are thick and dense, flooding my palate with a massively viscous mouthfeel that heavily coats the tongue and presents my taste buds with flavors of raw honey and plenty of fruits, like apple pie, raisin, cranberry, cantaloupe, raspberry, and pomegranate, while spicy/sweet notes of muscovado sugar and cinnamon nip at the tongue in the fnish.
As it cools off, the coffee takes a sharp turn and goes down a very, very different path—instead of sweet, lively, and fruity, the coffee is now, herbal, savory, and much juicier than it was up front. Honestly, it kind of tastes like spaghetti sauce at this point in the cup, with notes of sun dried tomato (and a sharp tomato acidity to boot), basil, salt, and black pepper. There’s also an odd meatiness (like bacon almost) in the coffee that I can honestly say I have never tasted in any other coffee before.
Full body; viscous mouthfeel; tomato acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
I have sampled some really interesting and complex coffees in my day. But I honestly can’t remember ever having a coffee that was more interesting nor more complex than PERC Coffee’s Mexico Finca Kassandra.
This was a really weird and wild coffee that relentlessly tested my taste buds, that pushed and challenged me like no other coffee I’ve had in recent memory. It was intensely flavorful from beginning to end, never ceasing its barrage on my palate; furthermore, the flavors were not only intense, but pretty bizarre too—this is not your dad’s typical coffee; far from it. Hell, this isn’t even your typical Mexican coffee nor your typical Pacamara coffee!
Fruity, herbal, spicy, vegetal, savory… I mean, this coffee had it all going on. Besides all that, it was a delicious coffee, too! A lot of times, with these really weird/complex/unique/complicated coffees, they’re more interesting than they are tasty; they’re fun to drink as a coffee connoisseur, but they’re not something you’d brew to sip on just to have something to drink. But the Finca Kassandra was both.
Truly an exceptional coffee.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.