This coffee is in its second year with us and came to us a little bit out of the blue last year. A very well presented sample landed on my doorstep from someone who had visited the farm last year and offered to try and help find a buyer for them in the UK. We get lots of these and normally give them a try on the cupping table, but find they are just not good enough for us to stock. This one was quite different: the quality was amazing. So last year we stocked it, though we knew very little about it.
This year I went to El Salvador for 4 days on a whistle-stop tour to visit old friends and find some new farms to buy from. Finca Argentina was not on the list of farms to visit; we had not had direct contact with the owner of this farm, so I didn't really think anything about it. But they got to hear about my visit (it's a small country) and emailed me, inviting me to visit. By this time my itinerary was rather full and it looked like I would not be able to visit. However, a late window meant I could visit the farm and mill - but only if we could leave the capital at 5:30 am in the morning and I could be back by 2pm. Alejandro, the farmer, was up for this and I got to have one of the highlights of the trip.
Alejandro Martinez recently took over running the farm from his father, having returned to El Salvador after travelling around the world as an engineer. A very intelligent guy and a very good business man, he understood the farm needed to step up in work if it was to flourish: lots of work has gone into making this cup the quality one it has become.
The coffee is a 100% Bourbon, as 70% of plant stock in El Salvador is. This heirloom varietal is one of the reasons why coffee from this country is right up amongst some of the best in the world. They have the perfect climate and conditions for this low yielding, high maintenance strain.
The farm is based in the Apaneca-Ilamtepec mountain range near to the town of Turin in the Auchapan dept. During the non-picking season 16 people work on the farm maintaining and tending to the plants. During the picking period this goes up to 50 people. The altitude of the farm is 1350m.
The coffee is fully washed and sun dried on patios. When I visited, all the coffee had just been harvested, and they were doing prep work and tidying up the farm to make it ready for the next phase of improvements. You can see so much hard work has been done. It's an amazingly beautiful place, and was well worth the early start for the visit.
This is a world exclusive for us, and one I think you will enjoy. In the cup expect lots of sweetness like all great El Salvador Bourbons, but then you get a blast of oranges; unlike last year's offering, I find this coffee much more balanced with a smooth and almost creamy body to it. Then on the aftertaste, just like last year, a waft of pomegranate.
Country: El Salvador Farm: Finca Argentina Varietal: Bourbon Processing: Fully washed and dried on patio Workers: 16 full time rising to 50 during the picking season Altitude: 1,350 masl Owner: Alejandro Martinez City: Near Turin, Ahuachapan Region: Apaneca-Ilamatepec Mountain ranges El Salvador
Sweet, oranges, pomegranate, creamy, balanced