||El Salvador Finca La Ilusion Natural Bourbon 2014
||Apaneca-Ilamatepec Mountain Ranges
This is one of my all time favourite farms coming back after being away for the past two years. But we welcome it back with the widest of arms, its so so special. I often get asked what my favourite coffee of all time. I will never say (although my friends know the true answer), but I say three, this is one of them.
I went to El Salvador in 2008 on a buying trip, visiting some of the farms from which we buy. I actually arrived the evening of the Cup of Excellence awards. After the ceremony, I was walking around when this guy who seemed very popular came over to me and introduced himself. He was Neto, who had just won the Cup of Excellence competition with his 'La Ilusion' farm, the sister farm of 'Alaska' a farm we bought in cup of excellence the year before. Neto invited me to visit the farm the next day. It was so great to finally meet someone I had communicated with so many times via email.
Neto bought La Ilusión 8 years ago. The farm has coffee trees averaging 19 years of age and is grown 95% to Bourbon (70% is red Bourbon and 25% is orange Bourbon). The remaining 5% is a combination of other varietals and it is possible to spot some Typica and Kenya trees.
The farm is run using environmentally friendly practices, trying to maintain a balance with the surrounding ecosystem, which is part of a natural fauna corridor crucial for migratory and native birds. This is very important for Ernesto, since La Ilusión is neighbouring one of the most important national parks in El Salvador, known as 'Los Andes'. It is nestled on the Santa Ana volcano and delineates his farm with dense pine and cypress forest which itself provides a special micro-climate for La Ilusión.
This farms coffee was used by the 2011 World Barista Champion and used this process in his cappuccino course. It's so distinctive, so powerful but ultimately so delicious.
In the cup the first thing that hits you is how clean this natural really is. But you also know its a natural, thick creamy strawberry milkshake meets red velvet cake, in taste and texture, also a hint of spicy liquorice. You can see why this coffee is so in demand and why it fetches a super high price, but its special and I think its worth every penny.
Farm: La Ilusión
Farmer: Juan Jose Ernesto Menéndez Argüello
City: Santa Ana, Santa Ana
Region: Apaneca-Ilamatepec Mountain Range
Country: El Salvador
Farm Size: 3.5 hectares
Coffee growing area: 3.5 hectares
Altitude: 1,750 - 1,850 m.a.s.l.
Processing System: Natural
This one is a medium roast, and definitely no more. Take this any darker and you will make me cry. Into the first pops of second if you must, but no more. No oils please. Surprisingly this is great espresso, and even better filter.
"Quick Look" Guide
Strawberry milkshake, red velvet cake, spicy liquorice, creamy, clean.
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