El Salvador Santa Rosa Washed
Cupping Notes: Blood Orange, Pecan, Red Apple, Chocolate
Finca Santa Rosa is nestled in the northern Chalatenango mountains of El Salvador and owned by our good friend Jorge Raul Rivera. The farm exclusively grows the Pacamara variety and specializes in unique harvesting and processing techniques. Complexity is the story with this washed coffee that we have now purchased for the last four years. When drinking this coffee, you will immediately taste sweet red apple and dark, sweet citrus fruits such as blood orange. It finishes with toasted pecan and comforting chocolate.
The story of us buying this coffee starts several years ago with Jorge Raul Rivera traveling to the Roaster’s Guild Retreat to meet roasters. There, he and Mark, our head roaster, became friends. A few months later, we connected with him again at that year’s SCAA Expo. He invited us to visit him at Santa Rosa in the Chalatenango Region, and although we wanted to go, we can’t just pick up and visit every producer. After sampling and buying a small amount of his coffee we were blown away by the quality. His coffees were sweet, clean, and interesting.
The following year we took a chance and visited Raul and Finca Santa Rosa. It’s hard to accurately describe our experience and the kind of hospitality Raul showed us. He took us to his favorite spots-from the beach to the best papusa stand (or papusaria). Next, we went to one of his farms that had been destroyed by fire. Parts of the farm had gone to seed; coffee shrubs grew like they were made to with long, thin limbs with sparse, ripe cherry. There he had hidden Gesha seedlings deep in a gulley, too far from the road for anyone to steal them. We stayed at the processing station for several days. Gerardo, part of the team there, was gracious and welcoming. On one of the days, we were there something went wrong with a portion of the sample roasting. Raul and the roaster stayed up all night redoing the samples. When they finished at 3 am, Raul drove their roaster, who was not feeling well, from Chalatenango into San Salvador to the doctor, almost 100 kilometers away.
Coffees from Finca Santa Rosa are beautiful and unique. Each lot is cared for and documented to the most minute detail. Just as we are every year when we visit.
HISTORY OF SANTA ROSA & EL SALVADOR CIVIL WAR
Finca Santa Rosa was purchased in 1979 by Jorge Rivera’s father. Initially, he invested in the land for forestry by planting walnut, white oak, and other hardwood trees. The following year a coordinated guerrilla based revolutionary war started, and El Salvador experienced a 12-year civil war. The Chalatenago area was largely affected, and neither Jorge or his father were able to visit the farm then. Fast forward to the late 90’s and Jorge’s father, now back at Santa Rosa, saw an opportunity to plant coffee amongst the trees. At the time intercropping and shade growing were unheard of as it slowed coffee growth and affected the yield. The benefits though can add to the cup profile and are very sustainable.
Jorge went to agriculture school in Honduras and then to LSU here in the states. He went back to El Salvador and took over the coffee farm refining the fermentation techniques, fertilizers, and varieties. His Pacamaras took 5th place in the 2011 Cup of Excellence. Seeing the progress created, they became even more scientific and in 2014 won 1st place in the Cup of Excellence (COE). What’s even more impressive is that although he won, Jorge did not rest on his laurels, he doubled down on investing in the farm and again won 1st place this year at El Salvador's COE. We happily bought a majority of his crop this year, and we are incredibly excited to share these beautiful coffees with you.