The other day I noticed that Starbucks rolled out another coffee, so of course I gave it a try. El Salvador Pacamara (as the name suggests) comes from Central America, where its grown “on the slopes of a volcano”, on the Montecarlos coffee estate. I tend to expect full-bodied and dark roasted, aromatic coffees from the Americas, and Pacamara was no letdown.

It has a tone that people love to call herbal, but honestly I’d rather call this floral. Imagine standing on a grassy hillside in the middle of the summer, surrounded by little white flowers I don’t know the name of. While the aromatic sweetness almost makes it seem light, there’s the warm fullness of the summer to it as well. There are pretty solid cocoa notes in there as well, something that I really appreciate since I like the bitterness of sugar-free cocoa.

Then you take a sip and it all gets flipped. The first impression is that it’s smooth, very smooth, and gentle. The flowery taste retreats to the background where it keeps lingering, accompanied by the acidity that I guess came in pair with the cocoa aroma. The darker roast allows for a full body so that the smoothness won’t fade into nothing, but turn into a well-rounded taste.

While I agree that there are bright notes, just as the Starbucks description states, don’t mistake “bright” for “light”. In the earlier example, imagine brightness as in the strong afternoon sunshine – it’s not burning, it’s not unpleasant, but it’s gonna give you a good tan if you stay in the sun. The way the slight acidity keeps lingering for the longest makes it somewhat refreshing – that is, if you think that ice-cold chocolate in the summer is refreshing.