El Salvador - Loma La Gloria
ORIGIN - EL SALVADOR
REGION - EL BÁLSAMO - QUEZALTEPEC
FARM - LOMA LA GLORIA
OWNER - ANNY RUTH
ALTITUDE - 1600 M
VARIETY - RED BOURBON
PROCESS - NATURAL
Known as “the land of the volcanos” El Salvador is the smallest Central American country (roughly the size of New Jersey), however the tiny nation has a rich, and tumultuous, history of coffee production.
Commercial coffee farming began in El Salvador during the late 1800s. Coffee quickly became a favored crop, displacing Indigo as the country’s chief export, and becoming integral to the economy. As coffee grew in economic importance land, tax, and military exemptions were created in order to increase production; this led to a small network of wealthy landowners gaining control over the market.
By the 1970s, El Salvador was the world’s 4th largest producer of coffee; remarkable considering the size of the country. However the over-dependence on coffee combined with political and socioeconomic unrest led to a civil war which lasted from 1979 to 1992. The period brought with it significant agrarian reform and redistribution, which disjointed the industry and caused a decline in the market. Most of the large producers abandoned their farms, and many were left overgrown and unharvested for years.
In many ways the lack of coffee farming during the 1980s is what, inadvertently, brought El Salvador’s industry back to life. During that period, many countries were replacing lower yielding heirloom varieties with more disease resistant hybrids. Farms in El Salvador, however, went untouched. When production re- emerged in the late 2000s the abundance of rare heirloom varieties, such as Bourbon, served to differentiate El Salvador on the world marketplace.
All modern varieties of coffee are derived from two base populations, Typica and Bourbon, both of which originated in Yemen and were spread worldwide during the eighteenth century. While Bourbon has always been praised for its quality, many farmers around the world began replacing it with other varieties during the later half on the 20th century, due to the plants relatively low yield. At this time the coffee market had not sufficiently matured to reward farmers for quality over quantity.
Bourbon is now lauded for its complex acidity and near perfect balance. It often produces coffees that possess a distinguishably sweet caramel quality with crisp acidity, but can present quite distinct flavors depending on where they are planted. Bourbons from El Salvador tend to contain nuanced sweetness and display notes of butter, toffee, and fresh pastries.