Origin: El Salvador
Estate: El Ingenio
Producer: Urrutia's Estate Coffee S.A. de C.V.
Cetification: RFA, Shade Grown
Harvest: December - March
Tasting Notes: Sweet with great body, toffee, plum, apple, chocolate and caramel.
Roasting Notes: A medium roast brings out the best in this coffee.
El Salvador El Ingenio SHG - Per Kg
El Ingenio dates back to 1875 when Mr. Juan Urrutia planted the first coffee trees at high altitude in volcanic soil and the first crop of 27 bags was produced. As time passed the farm grew and the family worked hard to improve the quality year after year leading us to the present day with sixth-generation Enrique, Rene and Gustavo running the farm, with their father Gustavo still involved as an advisor, giving them the benefit of his experience. Over the years, they have placed in the finals for Cup of Excellence 7 times, as well as gaining accolades from trade bodies and national associations such as Exporter of the Year in 2015 and landing in the top 5 in 2017.
All the Urrutias Estate coffees are 100% shade grown and native trees are planted every year and to prevent erosion. The main trees which are grown are the izote and the copalchi which act as natural wind barriers. A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the farm is unsurprisingly Rainforest Alliance certified and is home to many resident and migratory birds. Specifically, they are home to 24 different species of mammals, 259 species of insects and over 120 species of migratory birds. In total, they have over 100 manzanas (approx. 170 acres) of natural forest, which is about 20-30% of the El Ingenio farm.
The wet mill, San Antonio, gains its name from the river that runs close by. Coffee is passed through various depulpers that have different settings. The first one is calibrated to ripe red cherries. The processing machine or “criba” then moves it back up to the next depulper if the cherry was not pulped by the first. They have four depulping lines if needed. This means they can separate the best cherries with the depulper first, before a 13-14 hour dry fermentation stage. The coffee is then washed and placed into a wet fermentation tank before progressing to the drying stage., which is split between guardiolas and patios depending on the weather, need, and volume of cherry being delivered to the mill.
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!"