Cafe Pulcal is the name given to coffee from Hacienda Carmona. Aromatics are balanced with buttery sweetness, caramel, chocolate, acacia flowers. The cup is surprisingly elegant, silky, sweet, with fruit-floral and blackberry syrup high notes. City+ roast.
Hacienda Carmona is located in Antigua at 5200-6100 feet altitude. They call the single-farm coffee from Carmona "Cafe Pulcal" which is the name of their mill as well. The farm dates to early colonial times, but coffee was planted 1800s when the farm was acquired by the Zelaya family, and first exported in 1918. Carmona is run by Maria Zelaya Aguirre since 1959, and she is the third generation that works and lives at Hacienda Carmona. While Maria certainly cares for her coffee, she is also so fond of her herd of cattle that she has named each one after a name of her friends (human friends, that is), so she is indeed quite a character. Luis Pedro Zelaya helps to manage the coffee at this point, and in fact we tried to visit after I finished my duties at the Cup of Excellence this year, but the explosion of Volcan Pacaya followed by torrential rains meant all routes to the farm were impassible. Carmona is said to have a unique micro-climate in the Antigua valley as well as hillside exposure and well-draining soils. To form this lot, we cupped too many small "day lots" to count, selecting those that had the best sweetness and brightness. Day lots are small harvest batches from particular areas of the farm. We opted for middle-of-the-harvest day lots since even and abundant ripeness means better cherry selection, and these are also from the higher reaches of the farm. More information and images about Hacienda Carmona.
Cafe Pulcal is truly a classic Guatemala coffee. Aromatically, the balance of scents in very nice: sweet butter, caramel popcorn, milk chocolate, all in proportion. Adding the hot water, the wet aroma is right in line with the dry fragrance, balanced, sweet, with a hint of acacia flowers. On the break I get toasted raisin bread. The chocolate in the darker roast aroma suggest the cup will be more aggressively bittersweet, but I am surprised how silky and elegant the overall impression of the cup flavors are. The acidity has a fruit accent in the higher notes in the cup, giving a more light and effervescent character overall. There is a grape-like sweetness, paired with blackberry flavor, and a bittersweet finish. It might be a more subtle flavor profile than other Guatemala coffees, but one that really opens up as the cup cools, and is very approachable and yet-layered in it's lasting impression.