pomegranate, brown sugar, black tea
Between pine trees and with a remarkable landscape, in buffer zone of the San Pedro and San Pablo rain forest reserve, is located the only coffee farm of the Marcala region that was built over 100 years ago and that is part of the historic landscape where organic coffee is cultivated. It’s a historic touristic landmark.
|pomegranate, brown sugar, black tea
|December – March
|We paid USD 3,20/lb FOT directly to the producer (i.e. more than double of the Fair Trade minimum price).
Crossing the community of El Pastal, the cool temperature of 20 degrees may fall to 8 degrees Celsius. Hacienda San Pable has a pleasant and cool climate. The forest has plenty of oak trees, sweetgum trees and pines. There is a diversity of wild life such as the lowland paca, deer, agouti, cougars and lots of bird species that the Melghem family has learned to preserve.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a Lebanese immigrant called Pablo Melghem, arrived at the Marcala region to start a business and to cultivate the land. He bought the land from the Rosnner House (Germans immigrants) and Hacienda San Pablo was built in 2915. Hacienda San Pablo is named after its owner Pablo Melghem, who was a Christian arab.
Pablo Melghem since his arrival started to produce coffee because he is registered on the official census of the region as a coffee grower. Coffee farming was not his main interest; instead he dedicated more to the harvest of sugar cane because in that time it was considered a very important crop for the production of sweet brown sugar that had high demand in the region. From the sugar cane a distillery was built that became the first and only in the region. It’s liquor participated in the Agroindustrial Fair that was organized to celebrate in 1921, the first One Hundred years of the Independence of Central America. On that occasion the liquor received an Honorific Mention for its High Quality. The distillery operated until the 1950`s.
With the passing away of Pablo Melghem, the farm was inherited by his wife Doña Petrona Bonilla de Melghem who transferred the property to her son Rolando Melghem who had worked in various coffee farms in El Salvador. There he learned about coffee production and adopted new aspects of farm management and mill processing. As a passionate for quality Rolando became to be known in the Marcala region for preferring coffee varieties proceeding from Arabica, specially the Borbon variety . Rolando Melghem was known rigorous in his milling and processing of coffee.
According to Montgomery Melghem his father, Rolando Melghem, was always reluctant adopt new types of coffee varieties- His hypothesis was that the Bourbon and Typica varieties were irreplaceable due to their quality and time proved him right, because in current times buyers prefer these types of varieties.
These varieties continued to be cultivated in Hacienda San Pablo even after Rolando Melghem`s death, in 1991, and when his heir and new owner Montgomery Melghem, took over the Bourbon and Typica prevailed. Unfortunately with the coffee leaf rust (“Roya”) attack in 2012, these varieties nearly disappeared, but their harvest continued using the genetic material that survived and now produced with the organic system.
The Coffee Farm San Pablo was transferred to Montgomery Melghem as the new owner (Third generation) in 2010. Up to the present he has achieved experience in growing a high quality coffee and processing and with the support of Comsa has promoted new coffee processes like Honey Process, Natural Process. In crop 2015/16 his natural coffee scored 89 and 90 points..
As the responsible person and owner of Hacienda San Pablo, Montgomery Melghem has taken up the challenge of maintaining the coffee legacy meanwhile promoting diversification on the farm; that can be manageable and sustainable with the family. Along with his family they converted the farm into a rural touristic destination and the family manages the initiative. It is worth noting that Hacienda San Pablo is the only one of its kind in the Department of La Paz, preserving its original style. Years ago there were a couple of old farms in the region of Marcala but they were demolished. The family has tried to preserve it so that the people can learn what coffee farm from the 1920`s was like. Concerning the family integration that is given in Hacienda San Pablo, the children of Montgomery and Lila Sorto children are always with them and participate in the tours given to the visitors . They all share the concept of developing the place as a touristic destination, and integrate into it the management of the farm, the harvesting and milling processes required to produce high quality coffee. Also, as a family they feel very proud of the place that is ideal to visit and rest because of it is a quiet place where silence, reading and where being in contact with nature can be enjoyed.
As part of the challenge to diversify the Hacienda San Pablo, the Melghem-Sorto family adopted the organic system of cultivation coffee. In crop 2015/16 they sold a micro lot of specialty coffee from the Hacienda San Pablo to a buyer in Canada and the price that was achieved was well above the quotations for mainstream coffees in New York . In the cup sessions with Comsa’s buyers the San Pablo samples always obtain high scores and they provide high hopes of widening the client lists and the volumes starting from 2017- In the case of a cupping session with German buyers the San Pablo coffee scored 90 points and the buyer was motivated to buy the coffee. Some of the farm’s coffee is processed on it and is being distributed in Marcala under the label of San Pablo’s Roasted coffee.
Also, with this process there has been some experimentation in the farm with the organic fertilizers, with the applications of certain infusions of plants like lemon grass, ginger, trying to experiment and create new preparation methods. Since that is what Comsa is promoting and driving to: innovate, experiment and discover.
The coffee farmer must experiment with new forms of production and find answers to achieve good results. And with the specialty coffees it has been of great help because the coffee farms can sell their micro lots separately, states Montgomery Melghem. One of the goals of the family is to achieve more added value to the coffee that is produced and own a coffee shop where Hacienda San Pablo’s coffee is sold..
A project that is being developed in the farm is for the support of children of the community of El Pastal. Each year about 60 to 70 children get support, with school kits that consist of uniforms, shoes, notebooks, with the only condition that they attend to school. This benefit is given until sixth grade.
Prices include German coffee tax (€ 2,19 / 1 kg roasted coffee) and 7% VAT. Shipping calculated at checkout. Subject to change without notice. While supplies last.
Aeropress, Chemex, Coffee Maker, French Press, Karlsbader Kanne, V60, Whole Beans