Origin: El Salvador
Region: Santa Ana
Estate: Finca Bonanza
Owner: Joe Molina
Varieties: Red Bourbon
Processing: Wet Processed
Altitude: 1490m masl
Tasting Notes: Green Apple and Plum with dark Chocolate and creamy Almond finish.
Roasting Notes: A medium roast
2.14kg El Salvador - Finca Bonanza - SHG
Joe is an agronomist and a number of years ago on the farm he noted one tree that was bearing fruit densely and proving resistant to rust whilst the other bourbon trees suffered heavily. Since then Joe has been growing seedlings from this one tree he named 'Old Chap' at his home to then start planting out on the farm as well. He has also being doing research with the University in Santa Ana where they cloned the plants in the lab. Joe has also planted these at the farm to see how thet grow.
This 10.5 hectares farm has a diverse range of flora and fauna; humming birds, orioles, owls, laughing falcons and
migratory birds of many species. There are armadillos, wildcats, deer, possum and snakes all living amongst the
trees of bourbon coffee, cypress, mescal, inga, walnut and avocado.
The coffee is handpicked between January and March then trucked down the mountains to the mill at El Borbollon
just outside the town of Santa Ana. The coffee is then pulped and left to ferment for bewteen 13-15 hours overnight
The fermented beans are then moved to a washing machine where fresh water is used to remove any remaining
mucilage and prepare the beans for the drying patios. All water is recycled and is used to move fresh cherries
around the wet mill. The washed beans are then taken to the drying patios and kept separate by lot. They will dry
there for around 8-10 days.
El Salvador is the smallest of the Central American nations, but don’t let its diminutive size fool you. It produces exceptional coffees to a consistently high standard. Mercanta regularly buys selected single varietals such as Orange/Pink Bourbon, Red Bourbon and Pacamara, and has strong, long-term relationships with many producers and mills in this small, coffee powerhouse.
The history of coffee in El Salvador is inextricably linked to the development of the nation, itself. Introduced in the late 1880’s, coffee quickly displaced indigo as the country’s chief export, and by the 1920s, coffee accounted for 90% of all El Salvador’s exports.
This substantial production was under the ownership of a small landed elite who possessed large swathes of land (by 1895 Pres. General Tomás Regalado, alone, had amassed more than 6,000 hectares!) and who were very much linked to the governance of El Salvador, which had negative and positive consequences for the development of the country. On the one hand, these leaders of the coffee economy (and the nation) heavily invested in internal infrastructure, such as roads, that benefited the coffee industry; on the other hand, those without land (which was most of the population of El Salvador) were largely omitted from the generated wealth.
By the 1970s, El Salvador was the world’s 4th largest producer of coffee; remarkable considering the size of the country. However, politics and overdependence on coffee for economic growth led to periodic struggles that culminated in a civil war lasting from 1979 through to 1992. This period and the aftermath of the war also saw the country engage in significant land reform and redistribution, which broke up many of the country’s large, traditional estates. Today, some 95% of the country’s producers grow coffee on fewer than 20 hectares, and no single person can own more than 245 hectares.
Unusual for Central America, approximately 60% of the coffee produced in El Salvador is Bourbon, characterised by an exceptionally clean, bright and sweet profile with strong citrus note. The country’s unusually high percentage of this renowned coffee varietal, however, is currently under threat from coffee leaf rust, whose impact on the country’s production has been sizable, resulting in a 20 percent drop in revenue from exports between 2011 and 2013.
Notably, El Salvador is also the birthplace of the Pacas and Pacamara varietals, the latter being a hybrid of the Pacas and Maragogype. The famous Pacamaras from El Salvador typically create a bigger body, with tropical fruits, syrupy mouthfeel alongside the citrus brightness and characteristic yellow grapefruit aftertaste.
95% of the coffee produced in El Salvador is shade grown and farmers’ passion and expertise combined with a skilled picking and milling workforce greatly contributes to the continued high quality of the country’s production. Furthermore, today, coffee producers are supported by the Consejo Salvadoreño Del Café which does great work in supporting and promoting El Salvadorian coffee, both domestically and overseas, and providing support for producers within the country. Through their work, there has been a tireless drive to stimulate export markets for the growers and to maintain and improve the quality of the coffee produced in El Salvador. As they say in El Salvador "Drink it and Smile!"