The Bernardina variety of 2013 was discovered on the Los Bellotos farm in El Salvador, run by the Pacas family.

The beans were probably brought to El Salvador from Ethiopia, from Agaro, by a previous owner of the farm sometime in the 1940s. Five trees in a remote corner of the Los Bellotos farm survive. For many years, the cherries were processed with the bourbon cherries that were otherwise grown on the farm. But, the farm manager at the time, Roberto Bernadine Merche, kept pointing out that these beans were special: when the beans were processed in the wet mill, the tropical aromas of mango and jasmine could still be smelled far across the farm, so exceptionally strong is the flavor profile.

After DNA analysis at a lab in Italy, the variety was found to be 70% Geisha coffee and 30% closest in DNA to a variety called Agaro, found only in the Agaro area of Ethiopia.

The first lot of this variety was sold to Nolan Hirte of Proud Mary in 2013. Because he found the lot to be so unusual and significantly more exciting in taste than a "regular" Geisha variety, he paid $50/kg. By comparison, a regular Specialty Coffee lot would have cost about $8/kg.

Because this variety did not exist in any existing coffee database until then, Maria Pacas was allowed to name it and gave it the name "Bernardina" after the farm manager, Roberto Bernadine Merche, who had always said that these first 5 trees were very special, so he practically discovered them.

Since then, Maria Pacas has planted this variety on several of the 19 farms that belong to Pacas Cafè. There are now many thousands of trees producing outstanding coffee.

Nolan Hirte, founder of Proud Mary in Melbourne, Australia,
tells how he bought the first lot of Bernardina, how the coffee came from Ethiopia to El Salvador, and how Maria Pacas and he made it world famous.

The special thing about this story is that the first 5 coffee trees of Los Bellotos were already over 70 years old at that time and are now already over 80 years old. Normally, coffee trees do not get older than about 25 years, after which they are replaced. But this story gives reason to think about this agricultural technique.

The Original Bernardina crop will continue to be roasted and sold by Proud Mary. The whole story is also described in this blog article.