The first time we came across Finca Argentina was via a very well presented sample that just landed on my doorstep. It came from someone who had visited the farm and offered to try to 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 tasty or delicious enough for us to stock. This one was quite different: the quality was amazing. So initially we stocked it, although we knew very little about it. Since that day, I’ve been to see Alejandro many times in El Salvador, the last two times stopping at his house with his family and enjoying a day at the beach. Alejandro has also been to see us in Stafford twice. We have worked with him on projects (some successful, others we will brush over); we have also told him what we would like to see from the farm (some he took on board, others he didn’t he’s the farmer after all).
Most importantly, Ale has become a very very good friend, and someone whose coffee I love and company I enjoy. He took over running the farm from his father a few years ago, having returned to El Salvador after travelling around the world as an investment banker. A very intelligent guy and a very good businessman, 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. Part of this work last year was to separate the farm into tablons (the Spanish word for plot). It was separated into 8 plots, with 7 of them growing coffee.
This coffee comes from the highest part of the farm called San Jorge, which is about 3 manzanas in size and ranges from 1,300 to 1,350 metres above sea level, it’s a very hilly part of the farm so is difficult to pick.
Historically, the Owner’s Selection coffee came from San Jorge and Alejandro told me his grandfather used to reserve some coffee for his personal enjoyment, I find it interesting as from all the farms his grandfather used to own (over 250 manzanas of farm!) he picked San Jorge for the coffee he wanted to drink himself.
The coffee is 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 Ahuachapan 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 a washed process coffee, and is sun dried on patios.
In the cup expect huge milk chocolate, mixed with sweet caramel, and a delicate acidity of white grape and orange that lingers in a delicious aftertaste. A very easy drinking coffee any time of the day.
- Country: El Salvador
- Region: Apaneca-Ilamatepec Mountain ranges
- Nearest City: Turin, Ahuachapan
- Farm: Finca Argentina
- Owner: Alejandro Martinez
- Tablon: San Jorge
- Varietal: Bourbon
- Processing: Fully washed and sun dried
- Workers: 16 full time rising to 50 during the picking season
- Altitude: 1,350 m.a.s.l.