Specialty Coffee in El Salvador
Known as “the land of the volcanos” El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America (roughly the size of New Jersey); however the tiny nation has a rich, and tumultuous, history of coffee production.
Commercial coffee farming began in El Salvador during the late 1800s. Coffee quickly became a favored crop, displacing Indigo as the country’s chief export, and becoming integral to the economy. As coffee grew in economic importance, land, tax, and military exemptions were created in order to increase production; ultimately this led to a small network of wealthy landowners controlling nearly the entire market.
By the 1970s, El Salvador was the world’s 4th largest producer of coffee; remarkable considering the size of the country. However the over-dependence on coffee combined with political and socioeconomic unrest led to a civil war which lasted from 1979 to 1992. The period brought with it significant agrarian reform and redistribution, which fragmented the coffee industry and caused a decline in the market. Most large producers abandoned their farms, leaving many plants overgrown, and unharvested, for years.
In many ways the lack of coffee farming during the 1980s is what, inadvertently, brought El Salvador’s industry back to life. During that period, many countries were replacing lower yielding heirloom varieties with more disease resistant hybrids. Farms in El Salvador, however, went untouched. When production re-emerged in the late 2000s the abundance of rare heirloom varieties, such as the Bourbons and Pacamara, served to differentiate El Salvador in the global marketplace.
Loma La Gloria, “Hill of Glory”, is owned and operated by second generation coffee producer Anny Ruth. Anny was introduced to the world of specialty coffee more than 20 years ago when her father, Roberto, purchased their family’s farm and began cultivating coffee.
Anny and her team are meticulous in regards to their natural processed lots. They harvest all of the coffee by hand to ensure that only the ripest possible cherries are being selected. The coffee is then carefully sorted by size, quality, and sugar content in order to create uniform lots, before being placed in neat rows and sun-dried in an open an air environment.
The coffee is turned regularly during the drying phase in order to avoid defect, mold, and/or over-fermentation. The crew at Loma La Gloria rotates the natural processed lots multiple time each day, allowing the coffee to dry thoroughly and uniformly.Their work speaks for itself, year in and year out Anny and her team are responsible for producing some of the most complex and well-balanced El Salvadorian coffees on the market.
Brewing Orange Bourbon
Delicate and sweet, this year’s harvest of Orange Bourbon is yet another impeccably well-processed lot from Anny Ruth and her team at Loma La Gloria.
Pour over brewing will yield a clean and complex cup that combines the sweetness of fresh citrus juice with nuanced floral and tea-like flavors. Expect bright notes of orange and tangerine, to be tempered by the intense sweetness of raw honey, cooling to present more delicate black tea qualities.
AeroPress brewing will offer a slightly more fruitful cup with a full, creamy mouthfeel. A wide array of citrus flavors are matched with with jam-like qualities, which creates a long and pleasant aftertaste.