Dispatches: Guatemala & El Salvador

We spent the last two weeks in El Salvador and Guatemala, two countries we’ve enjoyed thoroughly on past trips, and to which we were excited to return.

El Salvador

In El Salvador we visited Finca California, a small farm we purchased about 15-bags of coffee from last year, hoping to discuss their farm’s organization and processing. The 150 hectare farm built raised African drying beds to dry his highest quality coffees last year, which improved their coffee’s quality immensely. During our visit they decided to build four more beds, seeing the potential for getting much better prices for higher quality coffees. We literally watched them hammering posts into the ground, building the new bed’s foundations as we drove away from their lovely farm. We can’t wait to taste their hard work’s results.

From there we headed to the San Vicente region, where Luis Cristiani grows quite a large amount of great coffees at >1700 MASL (even some Pacamara!). Luis has never pursued specialty coffee roasters, but after seeing his picking, sorting and processing first hand, we were blown away—some of the best we’ve ever seen in Latin America, no question. Luis owns and operates his own wet mill, called Beneficio Las Vegas. His coffees are not only dried on raised drying beds, but in the shade—which contributes immensely to both flavor and to a coffee’s longevity as green beans.

Guatemala

We left El Salvador and headed to Guatemala, to meet a friend in Antigua, owner of Beneficio Buena Vista, Pedro Zelaya. The last few Guatemalan harvests have been terrorized by leaf rust. To improve quality and guarantee delicious coffees, Pedro installed a density sorter, which is used after the coffee has been hand-sorted. Each of his coffees are put through the density sorter three times before being shipped out. We purchase our Hunapu and our Cubito from Pedro, both of which have been great coffees. But after cupping the fresh crop samples, we can’t wait to get our hands on these new lots come April or May (Spring really is the best time of year for any coffee lover).

We left Antigua and headed out to meet with some new, exciting producers—young, committed, hard-working folks whose coffees we can’t wait to share with you in the coming months!

You never know how origin visits will go until you’re on the ground, and it’s always such a welcome relief when things fall into place. The trip was a tremendous success, a truly fruitful adventure.

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