Roaster’s tasting notes:
The honey processing on this lot is very labour and time intensive. The method brings forth the sweetness of a natural, without the fermentation traits, together with the acidity of a washed.
The body is clean and slick. The flavours are complex and evolve through the taste experience. They lean towards the tropical, such as papaya, with a kiwi finish. Vanilla sweetness creates balance whilst the delicious aftertaste goes for days. If you need milk and or sugar save your money.
In the late 1800s, coffee finally reached the shores of the small but mighty country of El Salvador. The crop arrived when the leading export indigo lost its prominence on the market. Coffee soon spread to massive estates, owned by wealthy individuals who forced peasants to give up their own land in order to work and assist with the tasks associated with the estates.
Thanks to the prominence of coffee and the wealth involved with coffee production – roads and infrastructure were constructed to ensure ease of trade. Facilities such as mills were also built to make the production of coffee smooth. With this support from the richest people in El Salvador, the country was responsible for a significant portion of the world’s global production of coffee. Specifically, in the 1920s, coffee represented 90% of the country’s exports, and El Salvador climbed the ladder to become the fourth largest producer of coffee in the world by the 1970s.
However, in 1979, a civil war broke out, causing the abandonment of a huge portion of the coffee farms in the country. El Salvador struggled to maintain its exports during this time, until the war dissolved in 1992.
Although the war ravaged the country for over a decade, it led to important land reforms that redistributed land to smallholder producers. Thanks to these efforts, today, nearly 95% of coffee is grown by smallholders who own less than 20 hectares. Today, families prevail and support each other in the small country that is still in recovery. Challenges range from struggles with coffee leaf rust and difficulties locating work. But thanks to support and strong producers, these challenges are being overcome.
In the Chalatenango region, near the border of Honduras, is La Arada, a farm owned and managed by Cristobal Cartagena Santamaria. He is 55 years old and has seven children, four of which currently live with him and his wife. Cristobal’s life is in farming, growing not only coffee, but also tomato, ejote, loroco, and some various fruit trees. He purchased the farm back in 1992 and has worked diligently to improve the lands to grow excellent quality coffee.
La Arada is filled with varietals such as Bourbon, Pacamara, and Paquita. It is named La Arada, because it translates to ‘flat place,’ referring to this plateau where the coffee grows. Other trees such as orange, pepeto, guamo, jocote corona, nances, guineos, lemons, paternas, zapotes, mangos, and mandarins all grow on the land. These trees provide shade for the coffee whilst also helping improve soil health.
Thanks to his hard work and dedication, Cristobal successfully won fifth place at the 2023 Cup of Excellence in El Salvador with his Honey Pacamara.
For this lot, during the harvest, the cherries are carefully handpicked, only when at peak ripeness. The coffee is then sorted, washed, and pulped to remove the external fruit, leaving a remaining layer of sticky mucilage. The coffee is then dispersed on raised beds to dry in the open sun. The coffee is shaken three times a day to prevent the growth of mold and covered at night to reduce humidity. Once the coffee is at the ideal moisture content, it is bagged and rested before being delivered to the dry mill to be hulled.