A little like a Strawberry and pineapple frutella chew. Red apple acidity and cocoa nib finish.
This coffee comes from the El Borbollon mill in the Apaneca Ilamatepec Mountain Range, Santa Ana, El Salvador. The mill processes coffee from surrounding farms as well as their own and this is from their 'premium' farm La Reforma. It is managed by the Alvarez family whose name is synonymous with high quality. This is the area of El Salvador that we visited during our first origin trip back in 2016 and I recall driving past the gates of the mill and my fellow coffee traveller Andrew Tucker saying that their coffees were exceptional. Good things come to those who wait ;-)
The Alvarez family has been growing coffee in El Salvador for over 100 years and across four generations. Their award-winning farms are located on the lush green hills of Santa Ana, in the west of the country, whose rich volcanic soils and mild climate provide ideal conditions for growing coffee. The family owns several farms and also the renowned Borbollon Mill, where this lot was processed. All lots are hand-picked and collected in traditional hand woven baskets from December until March by pickers who have been specially trained to select only the best and fully-mature coffee cherries.
This 36 hectare estate is planted out with 100% Bourbon coffee trees and benefits from excellent growing conditions, as well as scrupulous farm management. The Alvarez family’s hard work was recognised in the 2011 Cup of Excellence, when La Reforma was awarded third place in the competition final with a score of 91.72.
This coffee was not sourced by one of our regular import partners but a fellow roasting company from London, Nude Coffee. They have been buying coffee direct from El Borbollon for a number of years and for the first time this year decided that they would offer some of the premium green purchases out to other roasters. Lucky for me I know the head roaster well and he gave me a heads up about some of the special lots they were bringing in and gave me first dibs. I jumped at the chance and scored a number of special coffees including this naturally processed Bourbon.For the last three years El Borbollon have hired Luis Rodriguez , Q-Grader and Cup of Excellence judge to be their quality control manager. For this years crop they also hired Lucia Solis, a fermentation designer, expanding their knowledge and expertise further. Both of these industry experts have brought something new to the table and the green coffee buyer from Nude said this particular coffee is the highest score they've ever given to an El Borbollon lot. A massive 91.25. That's something special.
This particular lot underwent a controlled fermentation before 19 days drying on raised beds under shade. I asked the El Borbollon manager for some more detail on the method used for controlling the fermentation and got a nice detailed response:
- Select only ripe cherries, this happens when coffees have at least 92 to 98% ripe, and only the remaining as underripes.
- We submerge and float those cherries to clean impurities debris, take out floaters and reduce the microbiological charge of the cherries, bringing them to the tables with a more stable temp and less microbes that can led to faster fermentation.
- We send the coffees to dry under shade for the first stages of the drying and the first two days we remove most of the underripes remaining on the tables, trying to keep the coffee without movement for the first days, then we start racking them every hour or so.
- This initial stages of drying allow us to keep a balance bringing more fruity esters to the cupping table by prolonging the initial bacterial activity as we tried to keep our coffees below 40°C while drying, sometimes we take the coffee to give final drying point on beds under sun depending on how busy we are and also to avoid re-hydration during low temp and nights with dew.