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.

Finca Buenos Aires

It’s a special opportunity to intimately learn the nuances of a particular coffee farm, from growing section to growing section. Our relationship to Finca Buenos Aires is one such opportunity, as we explore multiple growing sections of the same farm.

Dallis Bros. had the help of a very famous coffee farmer, Aida Batlle, in choosing this special coffee. In the summer of 2011, our coffee director, Byron Holcomb, traveled to El Salvador to check out a few different farms specially designated under the Aida Batlle Selections program, which helps bring best practices to El Salvadoran farms.

Finca Buenos Aires has been a family farm for three generations. The breathtakingly beautiful farm spans the side of a pronounced mountain, at the very top of which sits a natural wildlife refuge. The farm benefits from an orientation to the wind that doesn’t incur the same crop damage as do some other farms in the region. Batlle’s oversight of production at Finca Buenos Aires has created such an uptick in overall quality, we purchased two different tablones (meaning “planks” in English, ”tablon” refers in these parts to horizontal sections of a single farm) from this farm.

When cupping this lot of coffee against other farms, it stood out as much as Finca Buenos Aires’s beautiful vistas. Though the two tablones we purchased are a stone’s throw apart, their character in the cup is very different. Tablon #9 brings a sweet balanced quality, with occasional notes of apricot, whereas its neighbor coffee grown in Tablon #11 is tart, like a fresh cherry. Compare the two side by side and see the true diversity of micro-lots from this spectacular region.

Finca Andalucía

The 2011 El Salvador Cup of Excellence competition brought forward more incredible coffees than ever before, this complex, fruity and candy-sweet coffee from Finca Andalucía one of them. This organically certified coffee balances tangy acidity and smooth chocolate finish, and we’re honored to be able to showcase it.

The Lima y Hermanos family farm known as Finca Andalucía is long known for its quality production of organic coffees. From Bourbon to Pacamara to new varieties, the farm has grown coffee conscientiously for around 70 years, earning the Mayacert organic certification and working locally to conserve natural rainforest lands and animal habitats. Its altitude, volcanic soil and carefully shaded growing areas are just some of the factors that contribute to the success of this great coffee.

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 34th 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.