||El Salvador Finca Argentina Natural Catimor 2017
||#SSSSS Limited Editions 2017
Number 6 of 12, June 2017, in the #SSSSS 2017 - Steve's Super Secret Stash Subscription. A limited availability series of roasted coffee beans.
This month it's: El Salvador Finca Argentina Natural Catimor 2017
Hiyaaaaaaaaaa everyone! Super Secret Steve here with the email you've been waiting about a month for, your next bag of #SSSSS is now on the way to you! Roland roasted it today, Tim bagged it, Kay + Nicola + Luke + Sam packed it and now Royal Mail are zooming it to you, woohoo right?!
I know I often say something here about it being a favourite time of the month but right about now it's mine for 2 big reasons, 1 is that #SSSSS is on the way (I genuinely do look forward to it each month!) and 2 is that I have soooooo many amazing new coffees arriving! There's usually a few key points throughout the year when coffees from different parts of the world arrive but right about now we've got El Sals, Ethiopians, Kenyans, Tanzanians and Costa Ricans all heading in our direction, super exciting right?!
The first of the new deliciousness to arrive was a whole HGV full of goodies from that fella at the top of the email, yes he's back...the man, the legend, Alejandro Martinez of Finca Argentina! Look at all the pretties...
That was 2 days ago and you're the very first people to receive any coffee from Argentina this year, as always I like to do my best to look after you lovely #SSSSS lot : D
Oh and I forgot a third reason about why I love this time of year, I get to roll out my favourite pic of Ale looking like a cowboy!!
Me and Alejandro have been working together since 2008 and in that time it's gone from a working relationship to Ale being one of my closest friends.
He became involved in coffee in 2008 as he had just relocated to El Salvador from New York where he'd been working as a city banker. With his first son on the way and the hustle and bustle of New York no place to bring up a family the draw of home and El Salvador was just far too strong to ignore.
While looking for work in El Salvador Ale decided to help his father with some of his business interests and investments. His father had inherited several coffee farms from his grandfather and was unsure what to do with them, one of the investments pricked Ale’s intent and this was a farm called Finca Argentina. The reason it really got Ale's attention was that he saw the farm once yielded loads of coffee but was producing a fraction of its old productivity. His father gave him permission to see what could be done to make the farm successful again.
Ale found out the farm had been classified for a Q auction back in 2005. Thinking there may be a specialty buyer out there he and his cousin (who lived in London) went about sending samples to coffee roasters anywhere they could. 1 of those samples arrived at Hasbean Towers just like a lot of other samples do, but unusually I liked the coffee and the rest, as they say, is history.
Since then Finca Argentina has gone from strength to strength but not without bumps in the road. In 2013 they suffered the worst harvest on record, with only 70 bags harvested. The loss was approximately 90% of the previous year's yield. But with investment and hard work they have also bought a neighbouring farm and the future is amazingly bright for Ale, his father, his family and Finca Argentina.
This month's coffee is a naturally processed Catimor which I know some of you might raise an eyebrow at as the Catimor varietal can be a little on the controversial side. Catimor is a cross between Timor coffee (resistant to leaf rust – a big problem at the moment in Central America) and Caturra coffee. It was created in Portugal of all places, in 1959.
Catimor grows and produces fruit very quickly and has a very high yield. It's pest resistant and leaf rust resistant, and it will grow well at much lower altitudes – better, in fact, in comparison to many other commercial varietals. Sounds perfect, but problems come in the cup quality. Timor has its feet in the Robusta species (hence all these lovely benefits), but Robusta is not known for being tasty.
Luckily for us, this is one of the finest examples I have seen of this varietal, and it came about because of Alejandro wanting to experiment and try different varietals on different parts of the farm. One of the experiments involved Catimor.
It's only a very small lot (as I'm sure you expect from #SSSSS!) but it's a great example of tasting a coffee with your taste buds and not with what you think it might taste like. This coffee made me change my opinion of this varietal.
You may have seen this coffee on the website in previous years and wondered why it cost more for the Catimor than it did for the likes of Bourbon. Well, to be totally honest, Alejandro would rather not harvest it...for him it's a pain: it has to be kept separate and processed on its own, it's fiddly and lots of hassle and, to put it bluntly, a giant faff! But he knows I love it and want it and so I like to reward his hard work with a little bonus, and that's what we're doing here, in order to try what is normally a horrible varietal but which is delicious and really interesting in this case.
In the cup this is sultana city, right up front and really on the aftertaste too. You get a punch of black pepper with the sweetness of toffee alongside a great big body + mouthfeel. Glug glug glug glug glug all gone!
Country: El Salvador
Nearest city: Turin
Farm: Finca Argentina
Owner: Alejandro Martinez
Altitude: 1,300 m.a.s.l.
Processing method: Natural
BEFORE YOU GO!!!
(a little bit of cross-promotion)
I'm doing something a little special with the Hasbean newsletter this month, in a kinda-ish #SSSSS styleeee I'm going to be releasing a teeny tiny coffee only to those who are subscribed to the retail newsletter, exciting ey? Even more exciting? The coffee itself! Malawi Chinongo Peaberry! Want to get yourself a bag? Better sign up for the retail newsletter ey! Head on over to http://eepurl.com/cwT6mL and enter your details, go go goooooo!
That's all for this month lovely people : ) if you'd like to keep up to date with what Ale's up to in El Salvador or just want to send some love in his direction make sure to look him up on Instagram and Twitter...
Just look how happy he'll be...
Bye bye everyone xxxx see you next month xxxx
"Quick Look" Guide:
Sultana, black pepper, toffee.
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