El Salvador Los Planes

From an unprecedented number of jury-approved coffees at the 2011 El Salvador Cup of Excellence competition comes this graceful coffee full of huge notes of tropical fruit and sultry spice. A stunning cup, it’s no surprise this coffee placed 6th out of the best in the nation.

Sergio Ticas’ farm in Chaletenango is no small plot of land. His 70 hectare coffee field employs 10 full-time workers and more than 70 seasonal workers. Ticas is currently converting his father’s existing crops from the Typica variety of coffee to Bourbon and Pacamara (this award-winning lot is Bourbon.) At the community level, Ticas has donated land for a water tank, allowed workers to farm cash crops on his land, and kept wages competitive. Additionally, he maintains a cypress forest and a natural lagoon for local wildlife.

This year at the Cup of Excellence El Salvador, there were an unprecedented number of coffees that scored well and were accepted as winners by the International Jury. At Dallis Bros Coffee we stay very connected to the Cup of Excellence program because of the coffee quality that is highlighted from the competition, and the way it helps encourage regions and growers. This coffee placed sixth in the competition, out of more than 40 coffees to score high enough (84) for the Cup of Excellence award, and 165 total samples submitted.

Why so many great coffees this year? One theory centers on the eruption of Ilamatepec in the Santa Ana region five years ago. The eruption killed several people and evacuated thousands from the area. Yet the volcanic ash which covered the entire area can be an interesting fertilizer. Its mineral components are absorbed slowly into the soil over time, and coffee trees producing fruit years later may be only now seeing the benefits.