Finca El Talapo is a coffee from the Pacas family of El Salvador. The family works hard to produce excellent and innovative coffees from their eleven estates. They have been growing their business and positive influence on the region for many generations and have become a very respected name in the specialty coffee industry.
In fact, I very much consider them the First Family of the Salvadoran coffee industry.
Finca El Talapo, a 23 hectare farm situated just to the east of the Ilamatepec Volcano and many native trees fill the gentle slopes, shading the coffee.
The farm is named after the Talapo bird, which is a native bird to the area. Just like tanagers, talapo can be found living among the trees of coffee farms, aiding in the growth and flourishing of coffee.
Many of the fine qualities of this coffee can be attributed to excellent and meticulous growing practices. The trees are pruned at just the right time so that the coffee plants receive 70% of sunlight during the fruits growth period and only 30% during the ripening of the coffee cherry. In other words, the coffee is carefully taken care of for maximum flavor development and our ultimate taste experience.
They also employ conservation practices on the farm such as: planting native Izote plants which prevent soil erosion, as well as digging large ditches that retain excess rain water for moisture retention. The family also plants and protects many endangered native trees to maintain biodiversity in El Salvador.
One of the great stories about this coffee is that a portion of each kilo of green coffee that is sold from El Talapo is re-invested back into the community around the farm. The Pacas are associated with a program called FUNPRES, which works to support school children that have economic barriers and special educational needs at the local school level.
I encourage you to read more about this initiative from the importer who works very closely with the Pacas family. This is what Tanager Coffee strives to be all about: roasting amazing coffees and investing in the lives and families of those who grow it.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of El Salvador Finca El Talapo, from Tanager Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Canton Lomas de San Marcelino, Santa Ana, El Salvador
farm: Finca El Talapo
producer: Maria Pacas
elevation: 1300 meters above sea level
process: semi-washed, patio dried
The aroma coming off the Finca El Talapo is filled to the brim with deep, dark berries, dark chocolate, and cherry pie with a freshly baked graham cracker crust. Mmmm mmm mmm.
The first few sips of this coffee are certainly unique—completely singular in its profile. A very full-bodied cup of coffee with a profile akin to soda. A heavy molasses mouthfeel, and plenty of sweetness throughout with notes of cane sugar, ginger, black forest chocolate cheesecake, and even a splash of syrupy root beer.
As it cools off, the coffee brightens considerably as fruits present themselves. I take that back—it doesn’t brighten considerably, because these fruits are dark and fleshy and juicy. Plums, fermented grapes, raisins, black cherries, nectarines, white peaches, red apples, and a clementine acidity that streams right down the middle of the tongue, while toffee and almond show up in the finish of each sip.
Full body; molasses mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
I have reviewed so many of the Pacas family’s coffees, learned so much about the family and what they’re doing, and even briefly chatted with Federico, that I feel like I’ve become good friends with them. My taste buds have certainly become good friends with their coffees.
Their El Salvador Finca El Talapo, from Tanager Coffee Roasters, is certainly no exception.
To be perfectly honest, it may very well be the best selection I’ve had from any of the Pacas’ many estates, and I think that Tanager handled it nicely. It has incredible flavor and a unique profile; really, an exceptional cup from the First Family of the Salvadoran coffee industry.
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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.