|Origin||El Cipres Estate, El Bálsamo–Quetzaltepec, Nejapa, San Salvador
|Notes||Dark Chocolate, Walnut, Rum-Raisin|
The Don is back... and this year his sleigh is loaded with macerated natural El Salvadorean goodness!
The El Cipres Estate is located on the north-eastern slopes of the San Salvador volcano in the El Bálsamo Quetzaltepec region of El Salvador, one of six coffee growing regions recognised by the Consejo Salvadoreño de Café (Coffee Council of El Salvador).
The farm is a long thin strip of 90 hectares that climbs up to 1,800m and produces around 3,000 bags annually. The estate is owned and run by the Alvarez Gallardo family who, since taking over the estate in 1992, have worked hard to achieve Rainforest Alliance certification as well as generally improving all aspects of the estate, both in terms of production and social responsibility. The family works hard to ensure that all workers are treated with respect and dignity. Food is subsidised for the permanent staff who live on the farm year round, and they have provided new efficient reduced-smoke cooking stoves as well as volcanic stones to filter waste water and reduce pollutants reaching the soils. During the picking season the workers receive free meals and coffee each day. The farm also supports the local school by subsiding the teaching assistant, supplying a computer, and providing sports kits.
In terms of the coffee itself, this particular lot, once floated and separated, was then submerged in a sealed container for 24 hours before being removed and cleaned. It was then placed on raised beds and left untouched for 24 hours, before being turned every hour to ensure even drying until it reached 11% humidity.
The maceration process reveals a more pronounced acidity whilst retaining the body and flavour usually associated with natural processed coffee from this region. In the cup it is rich and full-bodied, with notes of walnut, dark chocolate, grapefruit, kirsch and rum-raisin providing a suitably indulgent and boozy start to the festive days ahead!