El Salvador, El Molino


FARM: El Molino, Buena Vista Microlot
REGION: Ahuachapán
ALTITUDE: 1350-1450 MASL
VARIETAL: Bourbon, Pacas
PROCESS: Natural
FLAVOUR NOTES: Toffee Apple, Bakers Chocolate, Gentle Citric

El Molino sits amongst the Apaneca Ilamatepec mountain range, part of the
Cordelliera de Apeneca. This volcanic range runs through the Ahuachapán, Santa
Ana, and Sonsonate departments in the West of El Salvador, and is where many
of the Cup of Excellence producing farms in the country are located. There are
four volcanoes that occur within this range of mountains, with Santa Ana being
the more dominant.

The Buena Vista microlot comes from a plot within the Molino farm, named rather
straightforwardly for the beautiful view that opens up from there. The varietals
used are just the Bourbon and its close relative, Pacas, though there is also
Caturra, HSF, and Catuai grown on the farm. The importance of selective picking
and attention to detail have very much become a hallmark of the culture and
success of the farm, which is owned by Salaverria family member Jose Antonio.
Once picked, coffee is processed at the Beneficio Las Cruces in nearby Santa
Ana. A building over 100 years old and described as an ‘antique house’ forms the
central part of the mill, with researchers claiming Che Guevara hid there on his
journey through Latin America. However, equipment is not that old and has since
been renovated and kept up to date with the ability to process washed, semi
washed, honey and natural coffees across patios, rasied beds and mechanical
driers. Having a centralised mill means focussed staff can pay attention to quality
on the farms as well as cherry coming in, process consistency and final cup

The green-tipped dwarf varietal Pacas is fairly common in Central America, a
natural single gene mutation of Bourbon. Being smaller results in a potential
higher yield for the farmer, as trees can be planted closer together allowing for
a greater density per hectare. Named after the owners of the farm it was first
spotted on, the Pacas family, it was discovered in the Santa Ana region back in
1949 and now accounts for around 25% of El Salvador’s coffee production.