||El Salvador Finca San José Ahuachapán Washed Amarangia (Yellow & Orange) Bourbon 2017
||#SSSSS Limited Editions 2017
||Department: Ahuachapán, Municipality: Apaneca
||Varietal: Yellow and Orange Bourbon
Number 4 of 12, April 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 San José Ahuachapán Washed Amarangia (Yellow & Orange) Bourbon 2017
Hello, hello, hello and welcome my friends! It's time for your favourite email of the month!
Your April #SSSSS coffee was roasted today and is now in the hands of Royal Mail heading in your direction. For UK subscribers the coffee travels via First Class so should arrive with your regular post tomorrow, for my international friends they travel via International Standard so should be with you next week.
This month we're heading back to El Salvador, more specifically to Ahuachapán, where we're going to enjoy some delicious coffee from Gloria Rodriguez at Finca San José.
I first met Gloria back in 2007 through her now son in law and my good friend Luis Rodriguez and his now wife Majo (Maria Jose). Luis and Majo were working for the consejo (the government run coffee association of El Salvador) and had become internet friends, and told me they had a farm I just had to see.
Gloria is a fourth generation coffee farmer. The story began in 1815, when José María Rodriguez and Josefina Rodriguez (great-grandparents) planted the first coffee trees with their own hands.
Through the generations, the farm has passed through the hands of many committed farmers like José's son Israel Rodriguez. He was then followed by Jose Maria Rodriguez, who took care of the farm until it came to Gloria Mercedes Rodriguez Fontán, the most recent owner. Ever the strong woman, Gloria has overcome gender barriers in an industry that has historically been the province of men and personally supervises every step at the farm level.
Gloria owns Finca Nejapa, Finca Nueva Granada, San José which she inherited from her father 22 years ago, and her own farm which she has owned for 41 years Finca Lagunita. There is also the recent addition a couple of years ago of Finca Mamatita, which was an abandoned farm next door to San José that was just too good a deal to turn down.
The mountain slopes of Finca San José are fully shaded by trees that help to maintain and preserve the crop and the surrounding environment. In addition to the trees' diversity, the farm is home to a variety of wild animals and birds, which can be seen in their natural habitat. San José is nested in the northwestern slope of an extinct volcanic crater, which holds a small lagoon inside it. The lagoon is named Nymph Lagoon, due to the abundance of water lilies.
San José has seventeen full-time workers performing several activities, such as shade tree and coffee pruning, vegetative tissue renewing, and weed control. All of this work is done skillfully by hand. Approximately 60 more seasonal workers assist in the harvest process, earning their livelihood from picking and selecting coffee cherries only at the peak of ripeness. The people who harvest coffee have extensive experience and share a commitment of growing a superior quality coffee.
Gloria believes in maintaining highly motivated staff; the farm's permanent workers are receiving almost 10% above the legal wage, while the seasonal workers received almost 50% more during harvest due to the importance of this specific task for the coffee's end quality.
One of Gloria’s major blessings (her words not mine!) is to have Antonio Avelino as her farm manager or 'mandador'. His level of commitment, knowledge and shared philosophy of quality makes him an integral part of this effort.
At Finca San José, coffee goes through extensive quality control in addition to being grown under standards that support specialty coffee production. The unique micro-climate conditions include an average altitude of 1,500 metres above sea level, an average temperature of 17°C, and rich and loamy clay soil; and the coffee grown is mainly Bourbon variety.
Some other works done to the farm recently included three foliar fertilizations and two soil fertilizations, including one of organic fertilizer named 'Huisil', which is based on soil studies to ensure specific requirements. Where possible, workers ply the farm with stem bending or 'agobio', and they perform coffee shade pruning to balance sunlight and shade requirements under sustainable levels. They also perform weed control, mainly manually.
One of Gloria’s commitments is to reinvest an important share of the economic benefits from this activity into the farms, impacting the people who toil the fields and maintaining the quality of the production chain from seed to cup.
This small lot is a selection of the Yellow and Orange Bourbon that grows at Finca San José. The lot preparation was done according to this variety's ripeness; Gloria and Antonio selected a team of only five people to prepare it, based on their skills, ability and confidence in specific tasks.
The combination of both Yellow and Orange Bourbon created an amazing combination of profiles that was the main incentive to create a natural blend of both varietals and to offer this special lot, despite the huge efforts involved in selecting and separating this lot.
For the processing method, Gloria chose fully washed, natural fermentation and sun dried on clay brick patios. The name Amarangia comes from a bit of wordplay with the Spanish names of both coffee cherry colours.
In previous years we have listed this coffee on the website alongside the main washed Red Bourbon lot and smaller washed Elefante lot but this year it was just the perfect size to send out on #SSSSS so you lot are the only ones getting to taste it this year!
In the cup our good friends milk chocolate and white grape are joined by a little watermelon, candy sweetness and a touch of champagne in a super clean cup.
• Country: El Salvador
• Department: Ahuachapán
• Municipality: Apaneca
• Nearest city: El Saitillal
• Farm: Finca San José
• Owner: Gloria Mercedes Rodriguez Fontán
• Farm manager: Antonio Avelino
• Processing method: Washed
• Varietal: Yellow and Orange Bourbon
• Average annual rainfall: 2,100 mm
• Altitude: 1,500 m.a.s.l.
• Average temperature: 17ºC
• Type of soil: Clay loam
• Type of shade: Pepeto, inga sp, and other native trees
• Mill and company where lot was processed: Beneficio El Carmen, Agrícola San Agustín, S.A. de C.V.
• Fauna on farm: Armadillo, grey fox, small wildcats, agouti paca, hawks, pocket gopher, magpie, turquoise-browed Motmot, and others.
• GPS coordinates: Latitude: N 13º 52’ 52.3’’ / Longitude: W 89º 48’ 24.5’’
That's everything from me this month folks, as always I hope you really enjoy this coffee and it's as delicious in your homes as it is here at Hasbean Towers.
Guess where I'm going tonight? Manchester! Guess why I'm going to Manchester? To see Craig David!!! Byeeeeee!
"Quick Look" Guide: Milk chocolate, white grape, watermelon, champagne.
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