||#SSSSS No 12 – El Salvador Finca Las Brumas Anaerobic SL28 2019
||#SSSSS Limited Editions 2019
Number 12 of 12, December 2019, in the #SSSSS 2019 - Steve's Super Secret Stash Subscription. A limited availability series of roasted coffee beans.
This month it's: #SSSSS No11 – El Salvador Finca Las Brumas Anaerobic SL28
Well well, here we are - the final #SSSSS of 2019! Crikey, doesn't time fly.
As always, this email means that your #SSSSS coffee has been roasted, bagged, packed and sent on its way to you with Royal Mail - it'll be arriving soon.
For number 12 of 12 I've got something rather special, I mean hey - they've all been pretty special but I'm really sending 2019 away with a boom! An anaerobic boom from a World Barista Championship winning farm! And who better to talk us through this coffee than the person that won a World Barista Championship with coffee from Las Brumas? Yes, folks, we've got a guest writer this month - 2017 WBC champ Dale Harris will be talking us through the finer details of this coffee as an awesome treat to end the #SSSSS year : ) over to you, Dale...
Ernesto Menendez is one of the farmers we’ve worked with for the very longest - One of our first direct partnerships and one which has defined the coffees we value and the relationships we seek to make. La Illusion was one of the first coffees I bought from Hasbean, and after travelling to the roastery for the first time, Steve gave me a bag of Alaska
It is easy for me to find 100 reasons why I would have wanted to serve Ernestos coffee at the WBC, but the truth is I chose coffee from Las Brumas completely blindly, on the cupping table this was the coffee that spoke to me with its balance of flavours, high sweetness and interesting character. It was only afterwards that I learnt about the reasons for its quality and fell in love with the farm.
Las Brumas is a small farm by Salvadoran standards, and Ernesto purchased it after his many successes through the Cup of Excellence and WBC with coffees from La Illusion and Alaska. He saw in the soil and microclimate a unique opportunity to produce quality with some different farming techniques that spoke to his progressive style.
This coffee as with my WBC winning selection was from the ‘Wild Forest Project’, an experimental section of the farm at the highest altitude, where the coffee has been gently planted within a pre-existing forest. This style has positively impacted coffee quality by slowing cherry maturation and increasing sweetness and complexity, whilst also being a much more natural farming process. In an era when we see forest clearance for agriculture in such a large scale, agroforestry like this shows an alternative that actually sequesters more carbon than the rainforest alone whilst yielding high-quality products and livelihoods. Whilst we can’t plant forests with as much history, we can grow coffee in mixed systems with trees and other plants providing supporting nutrients for the soil, controlling temperature and creating other revenue streams - I believe this is the future of farming, and part of the solution to our existing climate challenges.
The variety is SL28, the heart of Kenyan coffees typical flavour profile, and brings a brighter acidity to this coffee than we expect from El Salvador, balanced by the creamy texture and chocolate and spice hints developed in this terroir and from the anaerobic process that Ernesto has trialled with this lot. As with the Wild Forest Project, this processing method combines flavour benefits with a reduction in environmental impact, as it reduces the water usage to a bare minimum, whilst retaining the control and cleanliness of a wet process. From the results displayed here, I anticipate seeing more anaerobic coffees from Ernesto in the future!!
This starts with a hit of lemon alongside milk chocolate, layered with honeycomb and lingering on to the aftertaste. It’s also got a grating of nutmeg on the finish - a sweet spice which is typical of this kind of Anaerobic processing.
Country: El Salvador
Nearest city: Santa Ana
Farm: Finca Las Brumas
Producer: Juan Jose Ernesto 'Neto' Menéndez Argüello
Altitude: 1,450-1,700 m.a.s.l.
Processing system: Anaerobic
Haha did you think I was going to just leave you without saying anything about next year? As if I'd do that! But I did want to have a little bit of a chuckle and leave this right to the end.
Yes folks, yes yes yes. #SSSSS will return in 2020. I've been tasting some amazing coffees on my travels over the last year and some of them have just screamed #SSSSS at me from the cupping table!
I'll be in touch again next week with an email to let you know the product is ready to order on the website, as 2019 subscribers you'll get a week to snap up your space for 2020 before they go on general sale.
Talk to you all again next week : )
"Quick Look" Guide:
Lemon, milk chocolate, honeycomb, nutmeg
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