El Salvador

Santa Rita

Released July 17, 2017

Tasting notes

Honeydew melon, finger lime, peach
Medium bodied with soft acidity

During El Salvador’s civil war and in the land redistributions that followed, many families either abandoned or were forced to leave their farms, and this was the case for Mauricio’s mother Carmen Elena.

While the history of coffee at Finca Santa Rita dates back to the 1940s, it was after the this upheaval in 1990 that Carmen Elena bought Santa Rita, bringing coffee farming back into the family.

The farm has 45 hectares of coffee along with 25 hectares of cypress forests, high in the Ilamatepeque mountain range. Santa Rita is buffeted by very strong winds, so they grow a protective buffer of Ingas trees, which are carefully pruned every year to offer shelter to the more fragile coffee crop.

Mauricio has also introduced the Pacas varietal to the farm, as it is a smaller and more wind-resistant tree, while still offering the good cup characteristics of its parent bourbon, (which you can read about at World Coffee Research).

The coffee competition Cup of Excellence (COE) started in El Salvador in 2003, recognising the best crops grown in the country that year.

On average, Mauricio maintains approximately less than 3,000 coffee trees per hectare at Santa Rita, with good spacing between rows. Giving the plants this generous space means they don’t have to compete for scarce resources and that the mountain air can still circulate between the plants – both important details as both the Bourbon and Pacas varietals are susceptible to leaf rust and other diseases, unlike the Pacamara varietal which was bred to better withstand disease.

All the coffee from Santa Rita (and Mauricio’s other farms) is processed at his nearby Cafescal Mill. The small beneficio is carefully run and produces coffees using not only washed process (such as the one you’re brewing in this delivery) but also other types of processing.

During the harvest, Santa Rita’s cherries are delivered to the mill to be pulped the same day. After fermentation and washing, the coffee is spread out on clay patios to be sun dried, and is moved every half-hour – up to sixteen times a day. This continues until the coffee is ready for storage and transport.

What makes up El Salvador Santa Rita?

Varietals

Bourbon varietal

A natural mutation of the Typica varietal, Bourbon is named after Reunion Island (then known as Il Bourbon) where the French cultivated Typica plants, that naturally mutated.

Pacas varietal

A natural mutation of the Bourbon variety

The location

Coffee from El Salvador

El Salvador, the smallest country in Central America, is colloquially referred to as the ‘Land of Volcanoes’. Renowned for producing exceptional coffees with great clarity and sweetness. The coffee industry first took off after their primary crop, indigo, declined with the invention of chemical dyes in the 19th Century.


The Apaneca-Ilamatepec region of El Salvador

The largest producing region of El Salvador and likely the area where coffee was first cultivated in the country

Farm processes

Washed process

Machines are used to remove the flesh from the coffee cherry before being fermented in water, washed again, and finally sun dried. This process tends to result in more distinct, cleaner flavours.

1 brew note from Sample Brew Crew

Coffee delivery: coffee in resealable bag and farm information card

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