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Nicaragua and El Salvador January 2006 Travelogue

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The hump is prized in Asia as an afrodesiac. (Just kidding, but I had you for a second there).
The nursery (for humans that is) and health care facility at Placeras.
What can I say. Yankee was the name of this particular coffee plot.
My early morning walk at Placeras, another wonderland of beautiful coffee trees under more beautiful shade trees. Amazing.
One fiesty goose.
After breakfast we took a little ride around the farm. Appropriately, I road a Mule.
Irwin and the Stallion. I just don't know about the hat, dude.
Placeras has a large communal kitchen with lots of seriously oversized metal cookware. If you need to make beans for 200 people, Placeras is the place.
Of course the kids were handing out around the kitchen ...
Aroound the farm there are collectors for bio-gas, such as this. It is used for the kitchen, and other fuel needs.
Next we went down to the dry mill where all the Mierisch coffee is prepared. Custom rakes on the "patio"
"Patio" in Nicaragua means black plastic spread on the ground. There is nothing wrong with this, and plastic isn't going to impart taste through the parchment layer to the coffee.
The reason for this method is that all the ripening happens at once sometimes, and coffee drying/preparation/dry-milling is cetralized in the hotter low-lying areas, such as Sebaco. Hey, it's better to lay down temporary plastic than pave it all, when the full areas is only used for 1 month a year.
Inside the mill, the screening machine used to separate seed sizes, broken bits and peaberries.
At the end of the process, a final hand sorting, after the machine color sorting. This is often called EP (Euro Prep) but is now quite standard for top grade specialty coffee.
One last look at the Mierisch family at the drying area... Stev actually lives in Manhatten, Irwin Jr. manages the farms more. During the civil war, it was their mother who stayed behind and ran the coffee farms, while Irwin Sr. took the boys to the states for school.
Magic portal, take us to our next destination ....
Yes, El Salvador, a tasty plate of visual and gustatory treats ... wait, where are the Papusas???
Incredible sunset over the Izalco (also sp Itzalco) volcano viewed from the Santa Rita Estate, on Santa Ana volcano. Santa Rita is 1340 to 1750 meters in altitude, and was heavily damaged by the Santa Ana volcano eruption last year.
Our group in El Salvador; Jose Antonio Salaverria, right, who heads up JASAL, a coffee farm management company and exporter. Jose Antonio have their own family properties too. In the center, Bob Fulmer of Royal Coffee, my travel pardner.
That evening we spent at the Las Cruces mill in Los Naranjos, watching the cherry come in to be processed. It's a dirty job, and these guys are amazingly strong. The mill runs all night long during the peak of the harvest.
Another view of the cherry coming into the mill.
The cool truck, a German "Man" mark.
I was amazed at the quality of the cherry coming in, the uniform ripeness.
The sheer volume of cherry coming in, and the high quality of the picking was beyond belief.
Out on the patios, the pulped natural cherry was beins spread out, even at night, and continuosly raked to promote even drying.
We had a nighttime cupping session, and I was dead tired. But the coffees were quite good! Of course, I always photograph all the roasters I see. This is a "Sarti" roaster made in El Salvador.
Here is a neat electric roaster made by a local fabricator. It roast 180 gram samples in about 10 minutes.
This is the Guatemalan-made Rea Roaster.
Jose Antonio Jr., recently back from completing his degree in hotel and business management in the US.

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