Last year in El Salvador we tasted an experimental lot from Finca San Francisco that had undergone a ‘Doble Lavado’ processing method (‘Double-Washed’, also called ‘Kenya-style’). A small selection from the San Felipe tablón (one of the highest altitude microlots on the farm) had been pulped, washed and then soaked twice, and we were really excited by how clean and nuanced the flavour had become. We were already taking a honey processed coffee from the Loma Linda tablón, and asked if there was a chance to process the final pickings from Loma Linda in this Doble-Lavado fashion. The brothers obliged, and the results were great to run alongside the honey processed version of the same coffee.
The long term goal of JASAL to improving their coffee quality involves planting new varieties and trialling new preparation methods. Part of the fun is in learning which varieties work well at different altitudes and microclimates, and what preparations bring out the best results for each lot. This year when we returned and tasted the second double soaked preparation from the San Felipe tablón it took us straight back our first encounter with it in 2016. We’re excited to offer this coffee as an espresso run this year.
As well as coffee quality, the brothers are focussing on sustainability for both their coffee plants and the livelihoods of their employees. It is the norm in El Salvador to rely heavily on chemicals found in traditional fertilisers and fungicides, as leaf rust is a widespread problem. To ensure their soil, and therefore their trees, are as healthy and robust as possible they use a mixture of nitrogen and a compost composed of coffee pulp and other organic materials. Regenerating the health of their farms means that year after year their coffees taste more intense and concentrated. This, coupled with proper processing and drying protocols, means coffees from JASAL taste fresh for an extended period.
Pickers are paid more than those working for a less discerning producer, and they do an incredible job of ensuring only uniformly ripe cherry gets delivered to the brothers’ mill. The farm managers also receive bonuses based on the coffee’s quality, which emphasises the importance of discerning cherry selection and subsequent hand-sorting. Their workers are further supported with accommodation, education on work safety and efficiency and a health care program, which includes doctors visiting the farms. The JASAL group have built and finance two medical clinics, as well as having donated land to the government to build two more medical clinics and a school complete with a football field.
Apaneca-Ilamatepec, El Salvador
Sweet cherry jam and salted caramel flavours abound in this creamy espresso. In milk, subtle pistachio and gingerbread aromas soften, reminding us of Victoria sponge cake.