El Salvador La Ilusion Bourbon 2011-2012


Bean name El Salvador La Ilusion Bourbon 2011-2012
Country El Salvador
Region Santa Ana
Other info Varietal: Bourbon


This is the forth year of us offering this coffee. I would like firstly to tell you a little about how we found it and its great producer, Juan José Ernesto Menéndez Argüello, or simply 'Neto'. In 2007, we were lucky enough to buy a coffee that came 8th in that year's Cup of Excellence competition from Neto's other farm, 'Alaska' (which we also have on offer here this year).

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'. 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 five years ago. The farm has coffee trees averaging sixteen 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 coffee was used by the 2011 World Barista Champion and is just as delicious as an espresso as it is as a brewed coffee. It's challenging and it's bright but that can be a great thing.

In the cup I get fruit salad sweets on the front end (for those who don’t know, these are very sweet fruit chews), and a lovely acidity to match that is not overpowering but is completely in balance with the whole cup. There is a lovely effervescence and clean taste like fresh pink lemonade mixed with Sherbet Dip Dabs, but it remains controlled and tight. One of the greatest cups of coffee that I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying.

We pay a high price for this coffee, some of which (not all) we pass on, but it is really special.

Roasting Information:
This one is a medium roast, and definately 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:
Pink lemonade, sherbert, clean, effervesent, amazing.

Good Filter: Yes, Good Espresso: Yes

Cupping notes

Clean cup 7/8
Sweetness 8/8
Acidity 8/8
Mouthfeel 7/8
Flavour 8/8
Aftertaste 8/8
Balance 8/8
Overall 8/8
Correction +36
Total 98

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