Producer: Hermanos Mena
Process: Pulped Natural
Harvest: January – February
Notes: Cocoa nibs, molasses, cranberry
Known as the ‘land of volcanos’, El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America but has a global reputation for cultivating high-quality coffee. Starting in the mid-1700s, coffee production was primarily for domestic consumption but has steadily grown to become one of the major exportable cash crops that provides employment to millions of people.
By the late 1970s, coffee production accounted for more than half of the country’s GDP but socio-economic and political unrest forced many producers to abandon their farms. Since the turn of the millennium, however, international competitions like the Cup of Excellence have pushed El Salvadorian back into the limelight and today, the small country is celebrated in the specialty coffee community for producing world-class coffees.
This pulped natural coffee is produced by Hermanos Mena (Victor, Alfredo and Jorge) on their 50-hectare farm Villa España near the town of Apaneca. Located near the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Ilamatepec, a beautiful mountainous area of natural importance that hosts many diverse habitats, the nutrient-rich volcanic soils and medium-to-high elevations are perfect for coffee cultivation. After selective picking only the ripe red cherries, this single-variety Catimor lot is sent to the processing station in Beneficio Garcia where the pulp is removed by mechanical means before the parchment coffee with mucilage still intact is naturally fermented and dried on patio beds.
Interestingly, the Catimor variety was developed in Portugal in 1959 by agronomists searching for high yields, resistance to disease and small stature which encourages higher density planting in the field. Catimor is a genetic cross between the Timor Hybrid and Caturra varieties and displays the resilience of its Robusta heritage in the field with good cup quality.
Sourced through our friends at Mare Terra Coffee, we love this coffee for its bold body that reminds us of chewy cocoa-nib flavours balanced by a thick molasses sweetness. There is also a super clean acidity that reminds us of sparkling cranberry juice that gives this coffee great complexity. Roasted for both filter and espresso, this coffee is delicious on its own or paired with milk.