||El Salvador Finca Los Amates Bourbon Cup of Excellence 2009
I wasn't planning to take part on my own in this year's El Salvador Cup of Excellence Auction, partly due to lots of commitment in other auctions, and that we had joined a buying group for two other great lots. However, this one jumped out at me whilst cupping during the auction. I thought it would take us way over our total budget considering our existing commitments to other coffees with the buying group. So imagine my surprise when I looked at the auction and saw this way down in price. In fact, the bids on all of the lots in this year's El Salvador auction were low, which I think is a crying shame.
So with a cheeky bid and we secured the value lot of the year. The 11th best coffee from El Salvador this year is yours for only £4.50 a bag. Beat that for value for money! It is a great chance to try Cup of Excellence coffee from what is, in my opinion, one of the best producing countries of them all. In addition, this coffee was also an award winner last year. This really is great value.
Finca Los Amates, located in the southern part of the Apaneca mountain range, in the Department of Ahuachapán, in the western part of El Salvador, has belonged to the same family for four generations. The cultural practices that produce exceptional coffees have been passed down from parents to children in the case of both owners and employees. Many of the latter have worked at Finca Los Amates for their entire lives.
The winning lot comes from the highest area of the farm, from coffee trees of the Bourbon variety which are protected from the sun and the ravages of nature by large and strong shade trees indigenous to the area. This is an important natural reserve for the local wildlife, including raccoons, squirrels, armadillos, and wildcats as well as numerous plant species that thrive there. Finca Los Amates uses only small amounts of fertilizers or other chemicals, relying instead on its fertile soil and the cool, humid climate that results from the three rivers and numerous springs on the property.
This past year has been very good for Los Amates. Attention to detail and talented workers have made it a repeat Cup of Excellence winner. Los Amates' coffee tradition, which goes back for more than a hundred years, since the time of the present owner's grandfather continues now stronger than ever.
But not everything was about business this past year. Two big social events were the party thrown for the workers to celebrate last year's Cup of Excellence win and the renovation of the Chapel/school complex, which was originally designed more than thirty years ago. The second highlight of the social calendar was the wedding of the owner's son, Enrique, and his bride, Rosario, who chose to hold this important event among the natural beauty of Los Amates Chapel, situated among hills, next to a small stream, in one of the nature-protected areas.
In the cup expect big sweetness, but it is a dark chocolate sweetness that doesn't dominate. Next thing you notice is a great mouthfeel, thick and gloupy in espresso, big and round in the French press or filter. Then there is a lingering aftertaste of blackberry, spicy ginger and chocolate.
Farm: Los Amates
Farmer: Graciela Haydee Magaña De Fortin Magaña
City: Jujutla, Ahuachapán
Country: El Salvador
Farm Size: 105.00 Hectares
Coffee growing area: 98.00 Hectares
Altitude: 1000 masl
Location: Cantón Los Amates, Jujutla
Coffee varieties: Bourbon, Pacas
Type of Shade: Ingas and mountain trees
Average Annual Rainfall: 3,200 mm
Average Temperature: 25º C
Type of Soil: Clay loam
Annual Production: (60kg) 766 bags
Mill and company where lot was process: Los Amates mill
Processing System: Washed & Sun-Dried
International Jury Score: 86.58
Winning Bidder: Has Bean Coffee, United Kingdom
Top Jury Descriptions: Aroma/Flavour - blackberry chocolate, spicy sugar cane, complex strawberry, jasmine Acidity complex, apple-like notes, velvety body, buttery mouthfeel
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