Sunday, July 01, 2007

Premium Salvadoran coffees get high marks

Coffees from El Salvador have again been recognized for quality in an international competition. At the Agro Gourmet / Specialty Commodities competition in June in Paris, coffees grown in El Salvador received the Gold and Silver Medals. Winning the gold medal was coffee from the La Montaña farm, produced by Raul Ochoa Hernandez, and the silver medal went to coffee farmed at La Hondurita by José Arnulfo Montiel Recino.

Both coffees also did extremely well in the 2007 Cup of Excellence Program, where La Montaña also placed first, and coffee from the farm recently received bids of $15.55 per pound in the Cup of Excellence auction. Here is an excerpts from the Cup of Excellence website describing Raul Ocoa Hernandez and his farm at La Montaña in Chalatenango:

Raúl Ochoa is the owner of Finca La Montaña which is nested in the Chalatenango department, within the coffee region known as Alotepec-Metapán mountain range. La Montaña farm is cultivated with Bourbon, Pacas and Pacamara varieties, grown under a canopy of shade trees. The farm altitude is 1,385 meters above sea level and coffee grows on very fertile clay loam soils under ecological-friendly cultural practices that include organic fertilization.

Raúl inherited an uncultured land from his father many years ago....La Montaña has an average of 15 years-old coffee trees due to some replanting and new areas. Raúl believed that Pacamara [variety of coffee] was great this year, due to size and even ripeness, that’s why he chose that varietal to enter the Cup of Excellence. He also continued another strategy, to lower the amount of chemical fertilizers and start using more organic compost. This farm has nearly 3,900 coffee trees per hectare and some 50 shade trees per hectare....

Raúl - 61 years old and father of five - gets help from one of them, Alexander who support him especially when the harvest approaches and the need of achieving perfect selection becomes more important to obtain the best quality. They explain their pickers about the program and emphasize the idea of picking only perfectly ripe cherries, but they also pay an extra 50% above the legal wage. The coffee lot that won was picked during 5 days; it was processed at Rene Aguilar’s mill which is a neighbor who owns a “beneficio” only 0.1 mile away from his farm....

La Montaña is the first farm coming from the Alotepec-Metapán Mountain Range that wins El Salvador’s COE, it is also the first one to get the first place with Pacamara, and this is another reason for Raúl to be really proud and happy for his farm and coffee....

Raúl is a great example of a small hardworking coffee grower; but he is more like an artisan, taking care of his trees with an admirable passion. His humbleness is amazing, “I just want to keep working as hard as I can, and produce the best coffee to create a long-term relationship with a roaster that appreciates my coffee as much as I do” he said.

3 comments:

SalvaAlchemist said...

I mentioned it earlier in the previous blog. El Salvador's coffee is some of the best in the world. Now if they could only bring here to the states.

wally said...

For a tourist traveling in El Salvador, do they have access to buying these premium coffees, and if so, where would they be able to do so? As for the locally produced coffees for sale in Super Selectos, do any of your readers have favorite brands of those that would be a good buy to take back to the states?

Anonymous said...

I was spoiled by the coffee in El Salvador during one of visits a few years ago. Now I can hardly wait to get back there and have some again. Good coffee is good for your health. Where as the stuff sold in many coffee houses and supermarkets in North America is full of chemicals and lacks good taste. Be sure to buy lots of the good stuff to bring back.