Cupping Notes: Sweet, strawberry jam, blueberry, blackberry, caramel
About This Coffee
The Guirola family of El Salvador has been in the coffee business since 1888 for four generations, going on five. The extension of Montevdeo Estate accounts for roughly 380 acres, situated on the San Salvador Volcano and ranging in altitudes of 1300-1700 meters. Besides providing work to feed 600 people, the farm has donated land to build a school neighboring the farm that maintains 800 students from grades K1-11 as well as a clinic and child daycare center. In an aim to provide water independence, they've facilitated feasbility of water tanks to the neigboring 150 families with a capacity of 5,000 gallons per household. Lastly, in hopes to make an environmental impact, the farm has aided in the preservation and habitat of local fauna and flora.
History of El Salvador Coffee
Coffee was first introduced to El Salvador from the Caribbean as a garden crop in the mid-18th century but did not gain a commercial production foothold until 1850’s because indigo, easier to grow and more profitable, was king. Coffee was first exported—695 bags—in 1856 and the government began to encourage coffee farming. Exponential growth coincided with the development of synthetic indigo near the end of the century. At one time, El Salvador was one of the largest producers of commercial coffees. Today, with a focus on quality over quantity, 70% of coffee from El Salvador sells for a premium above commodity prices.
Growing Coffee in El Salvador
In 1975 El Salvador was, remarkably for its size, one of the largest coffee producers in the world, exporting 3.8 million bags. Today, a good year is 600,000 bags. Today, 86% of producers are responsible for only 20% of the country’s production, having 7 hectares or less. This means, that 80% of coffee production is controlled by only 14% of producers. And yet, because peace in El Salvador and the opening of coffee farming to smallholders coincided with the emergence of the specialty coffee sector in consuming countries and the inevitable rise of new-thinking generations within old families, there is a pervasive focus on quality regardless of farm size. Most coffee from El Salvador was sold at a differential price above commodity prices.
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