||El Salvador Finca Argentina San Jorge Washed Bourbon 2016
||Apaneca-Ilamatepec Mountain Ranges
The first time we came across Finca Argentina was via a very well presented sample that just landed on my doorstep. It came from someone who had visited the farm and offered to try to help find a buyer for them in the UK. We get lots of these, and we normally give them a try on the cupping table but find they are just not good enough for us to stock. This one was quite different: the quality was amazing. So initially we stocked it, although we knew very little about it.
Since that day, I've been to see Alejandro many times in El Salvador. During the last two visits I stopped at his house with his family and enjoying a day at the beach. Alejandro has also been to see us in Stafford twice. We have worked with him on projects (some projects were successful, others we will brush over); we have also told him what we would like to see from the farm (some ideas he took on board, others he didn't – he's the farmer, after all).
Most importantly, he has become a very very good friend, and he is someone whose coffee I love and company I enjoy. Alejandro took over running the farm from his father a few years ago, having returned to El Salvador after travelling around the world as an investment banker. A very intelligent guy and a very good businessman, he understood the farm needed to step up in work if it was to flourish: lots of work has gone into making this cup the quality one it has become. Part of this work last year was to separate the farm into tablons (the Spanish word for 'plot'). It was separated into eight plots, with seven of them growing coffee.
This coffee comes from the highest part of the farm called San Jorge, which is about three manzanas in size and ranges from 1,300 to 1,350 metres above sea level. It's a very hilly part of the farm, so it's difficult to pick the coffee there.
Historically, the Owner's Selection coffee came from San Jorge; Alejandro told me his grandfather used to reserve some coffee for his personal enjoyment. I find it interesting that, from all the farms his grandfather used to own (over 250 manzanas' worth of farm), he picked San Jorge to provide the coffee he wanted to drink himself.
The coffee is 100% Bourbon, as 70% of plant stock in El Salvador is. This heirloom varietal is one of the reasons why coffee from this country is right up amongst some of the best in the world. They have the perfect climate and conditions for this low yielding, high maintenance strain.
The farm is based in the Apaneca-Ilamtepec mountain range, and it's near the town of Turin in the Ahuachapán department. Sixteen people work on the farm during the non-picking season, maintaining and tending to the plants. This number of workers goes up to 50 people during the picking period. The altitude of the farm is 1,350 m.a.s.l. The coffee is a washed process coffee, and it's sun dried on patios.
In the cup expect huge milk chocolate mixed with sweet caramel, and a delicate acidity of white grape and orange that lingers in a delicious aftertaste. It's a very easy drinking coffee for any time of day.
Country: El Salvador
Region: Apaneca-Ilamatepec mountain ranges
Nearest City: Turin, Ahuachapán
Farm: Finca Argentina
Owner: Alejandro Martinez
Tablon: San Jorge
Processing: fully washed and sun dried
Workers: 16 full time, rising to 50 during the picking season
Altitude: 1,350 m.a.s.l.
Medium to medium dark. Anywhere after first crack and up to the start of second.
"Quick Look" Guide
Milk chocolate, sweet, caramel, white grape, orange.
Tasting Score Note: Clean Cup 6.5, Flavour 6.5, not as above (system whole number limitation)
« Back to Coffee Archive