Pulcal is an old coffee estate overlooking the colonial city of Antigua, and is situated at a range of 6000 feet in altitude. The farm dates to early colonial times (check out the neat tile crest in the first photo below), but coffee was planted in the late 1800's and first exported in 1918. The farm is said to have a unique micro-climate in the Antigua valley, as well as hillside exposure and well-draining soils. "Intelligente" refers to a specific block of the farm, planted in old Typica and Bourbon cultivar trees. It has the best sun exposure, and ideal topography. 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. Intelligente is from the upper part of the farm, highest altitude, and so tends to ripen in the middle harvest.
Pulcal Inteligente is a sweet and balanced cup, with enough top-note complexity to make it a 'highlight' Central American coffee. The dry fragrance has a high level of raw sugar sweetness, with notes of roasted almond and baking spice, giving off an impression of sweet candied nuts. We found Full City sees a boost in fruited and cocoa notes, and even our City+ roast billowed a thick caramel smell in the steam off the wetted grounds, with a black currant and chocolate brownie smells released on the break. We've come to expect a clean cup from Hacienda Pulcal, and this lot does not disappoint. When hot, the brewed coffee shows convincing sweetness and an elegant, apple-like acidity. As it cools, indications of orange oil come up, fading to a crisp black tea taste in the finish. Layers of sweetness are revealed in the cooling cup, from unrefined sugars like turbinado, to raw honey. As you near Full City, fruit notes have a dark sweetness like red grape, backed by rich bittersweetness that's like high % cacao bar. From City to Full City this makes a fantastic brewed coffee, showcasing the pristine coffees that are found in Antigua. Also doubles wonderfully as a SO (single origin) Guatemalan espresso, Full City shots incredibly viscous mouthfeel, dense dark chocolate flavors, and a raisin note in the finish.