Tyler visits decades of rich coffee history in El Salvador


Join us as Tyler presents this Friday at 3:30 p.m. in our Roastery on his experience below in El Salvador & Nicaragua. More info: http://kaldiscoffee.com/blogs/news/7371456-join-us-for-a-coffee-talk-this-friday

Tyler Zimmer, our green coffee buyer is in El Salvador visiting our coffee producers this week. He sent us this note from the farm. 

This is my first trip to El Salvador and I'm extremely excited to be able to visit. El Salvador is unique for a few reasons in Specialty coffee.  For one thing, unlike most of the South and Central American coffees, El Salvador hasn't given in to the hybrid varieties that much of Latin America has. Catmor is a variety that is a hybrid of Caturra and Robusta. While it cups as an Arabica coffee, it's has a low ceiling for quality potential. Specialty buyers try to avoid it. Bourbon is the most planted variety in El Salvador and it it is not unusual to see 80 year old coffee trees. Bourbon, like typica, is an old heirloom varietal that made it's way over to Latin America from Africa.

I arrived in El Salvador late Monday afternoon and I hit the road running. I met up with Chris from Atlas Coffee, one of our importers, along with some other roasters from the U.S.  From San Salvador we headed towards the mountains of Santa Ana where our coffee is produced. There we are lucky to be working with Emilio Lopez and Cuatro M coffee. Emilio is one of the most passionate producers I have met in coffee. We arrived at Manzano, Emilio's farm and mill, and coffee was everywhere. He has two huge drying patio's where the coffee is partially dried and then finished in mechanical dryers.


At Manzano.


Part of the coffee separation process of the wet mill.
 

At the mill, washed, pulped natural, and natural coffee are produced.  Each micro-lot is traced back to every step.  Every lot is kept seperate to determine quality. Some lots are as small as a few bags. We cupped many top lots Tuesday morning and the quality was outstanding. Emilio's farm is mostly Bourbon but he also has a small amount of pacamara. Pacamara is an offshoot of pacas and maragogype. The result is a very large bean with very good cupping potential. We spent the night on the farm Monday and Tuesday night. The farm has been in Emilio's family since the 1880's, so there is a lot of history and tradition.


Near the Paca's family new farm, Bellotes

On Wednesday morning we headed back toward San Salvador to visit the Paca's family. The Paca's family has been milling and exporting their own coffee for decades. Like Emilio, they run a world class operation with many Cup of Excellence awards to show for it.  They own operate many farms in the area. All farms are seperated into smaller portions call tablons, so they trace all coffee by the day picked, prrocessed, and location on the farm, truly impressive. They grow and process mainly bourbon, but do have some pacamara and pacas. Two sisters and one brother now run the operation that their father started, Marcella, Maria, and Alfredo. We were able to visit their newest farm, El Bellotes, on Wednesday. 

Alfredo Pacas talking about their new farm, Bellotes
Alfredo Pacas talking about their new farm, Bellotes

Bellotes was very interesting because of the conditions. It was very thick with shade trees as well as a thick fog that rolls over the mountain, it was beautiful.

I am now off to Nicaragua to visit a few different producer groups we work with.