Map of the El Salvador

El Salvador coffee had an undeservingly poor reputation for years, marred mostly by the inability to deliver coffee of high quality in an unstable political climate. Unfortunately, agriculture is the first to suffer in revolution, since it requires years to rebuild a farm if it is neglected. In El Salvador the coffee trade, like the government in general, was controlled by a ruling elite ...a handful of wealthy families that operated many farms. El Salvador has always tended towards the right politically. But the democratic movements and decades of civil war have changed many things. It shows in the quality of coffee. Instead of low grade commercial blending coffees, we now see an eruption of farm-specific regional offerings from small co-ops or estates. El Salvador always had the right ingredients ---soil, altitude, climate ---to produce coffee on par with Guatemala. For the past 3 years I have been able to buy incredible Salvadors --drop dead quality, great acidity, refinement and depth. At first it was the Organic Cerro Verde imported by Pipil. Last year it was the incredible Organic Los Naranjos. Then we had the Santa Ritas and Salaverrias. Great stuff. Then the real bombshell coffee: the Cup of Excellence lot from the San Francisco farm. This truly represents the pinnacle of high grown Salvadors.

But beware, there are still a lot of lower grade mild low-grown coffees available from El Salvador. These are really of a different ilk, and are best used as a neutral coffee for flavoring.

For our current El Salvador reviews follow this link.

Some photos from Finca San Francisco:

Juan Francis Rodriguez (L) and son, Co-op member and owner of Finca San Francisco

Right: The traditional arabica cultivar Bourbon is allowed to grow taller than other varietals, a is groiwn best under the protective shade of taller native trees. Left: These shade trees also provide natural compost with their leaves, and labor-intensive weeding with a machete reduces any need for chemicals.

Right: Bourbon coffee trees on the farm, under a canopy of shade trees. Left: the co-op mill showing coffee in parchment drying on the patios.

El Salvador Cup of Excellence- San Francisco Farm
Country: El Salvador Grade: SHB -Strictly Hard Bean Region: Buenos Aires, Chalchuapa Mark: 2003 COE Auction Lot #9, Finca San Francisco
Chops: 09/060/63
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: 2003 Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: 100% Bourbon
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.8 Notes: While this coffee ranked #9 in the Cup of Excellence competition for El Salvador, it was my personal #1. It is 100% traditional Bourbon arabica cultivar, and is exclusively sun-dried on patios. It comes from an altitude of 4900 f eet, the San Francisco farm owned by Juan Francisco Rodríguez, 4th generation of a coffee growing family. Sr. Rodriguez was a founding member of the wet-mill co-op, along with 27 other small farms, called the Cuzcachapa cooperative. At his farm, some 80 workers are employed for harvest time and 6 people are permanently working on the coffee field through the cooperative effort. The coop helps the community in the maintenance of roads and providing economic support to surrounding communities complementing their bills for water supply. The cup is floral in the aromatics, both before and during brewing. This follows through on the first sip, when I often get a very floral burst, like brilliant hop flowers. When roasted to a lighter City stage, the coffee needs to rest a couple days to bring some equilibrium to the top end of the taste profile: this is bright coffee! This cup is complex, everything I look for in a high grown Central. With ample acidity, you can roast this a bit darker and get really amazing, tingly ripe-sweet orange notes in the cup. This overlays a complex, black tea flavor that persists through the finish at this slightly darker roast stage -very nice!
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.8
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9.2
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.7
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Roast: This coffee resists the roast a bit and may need a little more time in the roast to hit the degree-of-roast you are targeting. It's very bright in the lighter City stage, and I had the most complex cups when it was true Full City, meaning that just a couple snaps of 2nd crack occurred and the roast was stopped.
add 50 50 Compare to: Bright, flavorful, complex Centrals … intensifying more as it cools. It truly compares only to Bourbon varietal Salvadors.
Score (Max. 100) 87.8



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