El Salvador is a very small nation in Central America, but it is one of the most highly regarded when it comes to the quality of the coffee that it sells. It produces a range of different types of specialty coffee, including Bourbon and Pacamara. Its diverse landscape and warm climate makes it a perfect place for growing high quality coffee.
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Popular El Salvador Coffees
The majority (about 60%) of the coffee produced in El Salvador is Bourbon. The country is known for the clean and bright coffee it produces, and its bourbons have a sweet profile along with citrus undertones. The Pacmara drinks have a stronger body and a more syrupy mouthfeel, but retain that citrus tone, along with a powerful grapefruit aftertaste.
Most coffees in El Salvador are shade grown, and the harvest window is relatively small, running from just November to February in most parts of the country, although there is a longer harvest period for the low-lying areas. Unlike equatorial countries, there is just one harvest per year. The best time to buy specialty coffees from El Salvador in the UK is in the summer, when the first batches arrive in the country.
The coffees are transported to mills and pulped immediately, to ensure that they do not start to ferment. There are 460 collecting points spread around the main coffee growing areas, and the network of feeder roads to supply the mills is incredibly well organised. El Salvador coffee growers usually wet process their produce, and allow millers to do most of the delicate work to ensure that every batch of coffee is processed to the same exacting standard.
The Coffee Industry in El Salvador
El Salvador has a long history of coffee growing. The majority of the farms that produce coffee in the country are large compared to those in other parts of Central America – they are businesses, rather than family-run smallholdings. However, this is a good thing in many ways because it means that they are dedicated to producing amazing specialty coffees and everyone from the pickers to the mill workforce is highly skilled.
There are about 20,000 coffee growers in El Salvador, and medium-sized holdings (smaller than 120 hectares) are responsible for around 65% of the production of the country. Collectively, coffee growers use about twelve percent of the nation’s arable land, and coffee is grown in seven out of the country’s 14 provinces. The majority of the coffee production takes place in Santa Ana, but Ahuachapan, La libertad and Sonsonate are major coffee growing centers too.
The Consejo Salvadoreno Del Café is an organisation of El Salvadorian Coffee growers who works to support and promote the growth of the industry, both in terms of its domestic popularity and exports. The organisation has worked with growers to improve the consistency of the coffee that they produce and is also working to spread the El Salvadorian ethos of “Drink it and smile” to other parts of the world.
If You Like El Salvador Coffee, Give These A Try…
If you love coffee from El Salvador but you’d like to explore coffees from other regions, try the following: