||El Salvador La Ilusion COE Number 1
||Cup of Excelelcne Number 1, Bourbon
Juan José Ernesto is a fourth generation coffee grower, he's been involved in coffee since 1995 when he inherited San Carlos farm from his father. In 2000, after finishing college, he started working in the coffee business, looking forward to apply the knowledge and experience he acquired as an active player in events such as the Cup of Excellence. Juan José Ernesto or Neto as many know him in El Salvador is also a Star Cupper, and earned his Q grader certification from the SCAA and CQI early this year.
Neto bought La Ilusión three years ago, this farm has coffee trees averaging sixteen years of age and its grown 95% to Bourbon (70% is red Bourbon and 25% is orange Bourbon) the remaining 5% is a combination of other varieties where you can spot some Typica and Kenya trees. The farm is run minding 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 neighboring one of the most important national parks in El Salvador known as Los Andes, nestled on the Santa Ana volcano and delimiting his farm with dense Pine and Cypress forest which also provides a special microclimate to his farm.
Neto's focus is to improve the harvesting process at La Ilusión and also the wet milling stage, which is done at San Carlos farm, by keeping quality points of control, supervising personally all the process and training his workers to take extra care of this marvelous coffee. Coffee is picked only if perfectly ripe, they perform an extra sorting after harvest to secure there's none immature cherries that might spoil the cup. Then, they transport cherries to Finca San Carlos to depulp it immediately, and then it sits for natural fermentation up to 16 hours or until the optimum fermentation point is achieved. After washing the parchment with clean and fresh water to remove the mucilage, it is sun-dried 100% on patios for 14 days until a moisture level of 12% is reached. La Ilusión coffees are stored at San Carlos warehouse where they rest under controlled conditions to preserve its characteristics for a prudent amount of time.
In 2007, Ernesto was able to rank in 8th place with Alaska farm(which has bean was one of the buyers), and as he did with this farm, he is looking forward to establish long term relationships with his customers while breaking commercial and language barriers so he can create more advantages for both ends by producing extremely high quality coffees. In Ernesto's own words: "2008 has been an incredible year for me; I've won the first place in the El Salvador CoE event, and received the presidential award, but also ranked 8th at the Roasters
Guild COTY event in Minneapolis... These awards would be impossible to obtain without god's blessings and the effort of all the people that were part of the process, for me it was one of the happiest days of my life, and I was able to share it with my family, friends and workers from La Ilusión".
I love this coffee, I really fell in love at very first cup (and a blind table at that). Often for me number one cup of excellence isn't my thing, but this was head and shoulders the best coffee from the competition. We pushed and pushed to get a buying group together, phoning friends and telling them how good this coffee is. Luckily they tasted it and agreed. I also loved this coffee because of the story. Ernesto has become a very good friend, via email and on the trip. I like the guy and what he is doing at the farm, and his others. He understands quality and he understands added value in coffee.
In the cup I got fruit salad sweets (for those who don't know this is a very sweet fruits chewy sweet) all on the front end. A lovely acidity to match. Not over powering but completely in balance with the whole cup. And this is what it does best, balance in the cup. Then this develops into a winey complex rich taste. Then it's the sweet sweet aftertaste that just carries on and on and on.
Farm: La Ilusión
Farmer: Juan Jose Ernesto Menéndez Argüello
City: Santa Ana, Santa Ana
Region: Apaneca-Ilamatepec Mountain Range
Country: El Salvador
Farm Size: 3.50 Hectares
Coffee growing area: 3.50 Hectares
Altitude: 1750 masl
Location: Potrero Grande Arriba, Santa Ana
Varieties: 95% Bourbon (70% Red Bourbon, 25% Orange Bourbon) and 5% others. (this lot is 100% Bourbon)
Rainfall: 2200 mm
Soil Type: Sandy loam
Average Temperature: 15°C
Production: 65 bags (60kg bags)
Shade trees: Ingas Sp.(Pepeto Peludo), Pine and Cypress
Mill and company where lot was process: San Carlos Mill
Fauna: Deer, wildcats, armadillos, Torogoz, Agouti, snakes, orioles, hawks, migratory bird species, etc.
Processing System: Washed & Sun-dried
Lot Size: 17 bags
International Jury Score: 92.67
Price: 20.10 USD
Latitude: 13° 52' 22.2" N
Longitude: 89° 37' 31.3" W
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