Last year we bought coffee from 2 small producers in the Buenos Aires community in El Salvador. So Linus went there in in mid march to follow up on the past and see what could be the future.
Juana Salvadora Barrientos had a remarkable taste profile in her coffee which was bursting with deep sweetness and all the spectra of delicate aromas but foremost accentuated red berries. A big credit to these attributes should be given to the Kenyan varieties on her farm. But It is seldom so accentuated as here, so the habitat (soil, micro-climate etc.) must also contribute a lot. Selective picking and post-harvest process also plays a part.
So my guess is that the main factors that makes Juana’s coffee stand out is the variety and habitat.
Juana’s very small production is harvested with the help of 8 family members and their farm is located at 1730 masl.
A neighboring farm is run by Ricardo Alvarez at a somewhat lower altitude of 1650 masl. His coffee also has a very complex and powerful taste profile, similar to Juana’s, but not as accentuated.
We named his farm Il Professor, because he is actually working as a teacher in the village. Since he is also a driving force in sharing knowledge about coffee farming in the area, the nickname is very appropriate.
Some trees where being harvested at our visit and I must say that Ricardo’s plantations have a very diverse plant life growing amid the coffee trees.
Pepetotrees are all over providing shadow and helping the coffee. (Pepetotrees fixes nitrogen to the soil, and don´t compete on nutrients with coffee trees).
Then there are all the other trees and bushes, where I was only able to distinguish a very few- for example banana, orange and lemon. There is for sure other producers who have even more dense vegetation, but for me this was a dramatic experience.
All photos from El Salvador are available here on Flickr.