Syrupy with fruit acidity, blackberry, molasses, dark chocolate and brown sugar flavors.
Grown at 1500 Meters Above Sea Level (MASL)
Our Origin Select coffee this month comes from the western mountain ranges in the department of Ahuachapan, Ataco, El Salvador. Known as “the land of volcanoes,” El Salvador is the smallest Central American country (roughly the same size as New Jersey) but its reputation among specialty coffee growing regions has grown larger-than-life, especially since the early 2000s. This month’s microlot is from Finca Himalaya, a 60-hectare farm owned by Mauricio A. Salaverria, and is located in a different mountain range than it's named for: the Apaneca Mountains in El Salvador's Ataco region.
The honey-processed coffee on Mauricio's farm is picked ripe and sorted for quality, then dry fermented for 20 hours. It's dried on raised beds for 23 to 25 days. His farms are planted with Bourbon, Pacamara, and Maragogype varieties, as well as cypress, pine and Inga shade trees. The volcanic soil and use of shade create a very hospitable environment for the coffee, and Mauricio has developed his own systems for processing. Natural-process specialty coffees are something of an experiment in El Salvador, but they are increasing in popularity.
By the late 1970s, coffee exports accounted for 50 percent of the GDP, but socioeconomic and political unrest hurled the country into civil war for more than a decade, and in the 1980s various land-redistribution projects and agrarian reform disjointed the coffee industry and caused the market to decline. Lacking the resources to continue farming, producers abandoned their coffee farms, and many were left overgrown and unharvested for years until a peace agreement was reached in the 1990s. It is often said that the Cup of Excellence competition, which came to El Salvador in 2003, was the beginning of the new “wave” of interest in Salvadoran coffee, shining the first light on some of the special varieties the small country grows.