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El Salvador is one of those origins that we just don't see a lot of in South Africa, at least as single-origin offerings, which is a shame, as the examples we have tried over the years have definitely left us wanting more. Many of those were courtesy of our friends at Origin Coffee Roasting, including some fairly recent examples that we have all loved.
While El Salvador isn't a very large scale coffee-producing country (19th in the world overall), even in comparison to its Central American neighbours, it is a country with a reputation for growing great specialty coffees, and a long history of coffee cultivation. It has ideal agricultural conditions and has made significant investments in infrastructure that have helped the coffee industry develop.
Most of the coffee produced in El Salvador is of the Bourbon variety, but this crop is under threat because of coffee leaf rust, leading to more cultivation of other, hardier varieties, such as Typica, which is what this lot is comprised of.
Phaedon's tasting notes
Like its neighbour, Guatemala, El Salvador is primarily known for its classic-profiled coffees, at least in specialty coffee circles. There is, in fact, a typical Central American coffee profile, though there are also many exceptions to to the archetype. Still, it's worth considering what that quintessential Central American coffee promises, as therein one finds the reason that Central American coffees are a key part of so many blends (including many of Origin's). Central American coffees often have heavier bodies, nutty and chocolatey flavour notes and balanced, soft acidities. This makes them great blend backbones. It also makes them delicious coffees to enjoy for those looking for something classic.
For me, this coffee is a perfect example of that classic Central American profile. It's full-bodied; it's nutty; it has a lovely texture and mouthfeel, almost buttery; it's very sweet; it's perfectly balanced by some subtle acidity. There are some hints of fruity flavour, but nothing overpowering. I was pleasantly surprised by how versatile it was; I enjoyed it in almost any brew method except a pour-over.
We have been featuring El Borbollon’s coffees since the first Origin espresso blend back in 2006. One of the members of the Alvarez family even popped in a few years ago to see us at the roastery during her honeymoon.
- Flavour: 85% dark chocolate (espresso), milk chocolate (with milk), green grape, juicy with good grip, dry, red apple finish
- Body: round & sweet
- Roast: medium
- Acidity: candy apple
- Brewing: pour-over, espresso, milk-based espresso
Coffee details from Origin
Since 1985, El Borbollon mill has been processing some the best quality coffees in El Salvador. El Borbollon continues the Alvarez family’s time-honoured tradition of growing, milling and exporting the finest coffees in the country. Excellent growing conditions and a commitment to developing sustainable practices has helped them to harvest the best coffee cherries.
El Borbollon Typica is a specific selection from different lots and farms located on the Santa Ana volcano, that still grow this heirloom varietal. According to World Coffee Research, Typica is the most famous of the Typica-descended varieties. It is a tall variety characterised by lower production, susceptibility to the major diseases, but good cup quality. It is believed El Salvador has been growing this variety from as early as 1840, and it remained the predominant variety until the 1940s. Bourbon is also a very signfiicant variety in the country, a fact that it shares with our closer neighbour Rwanda.
As some of the lots received at the mill started to show some interesting qualities, El Borbollon started to separate those based on cup qualities and to sell them in a differentiated way. This is a blend of only the best coffees received by the mill, and has more body and flavour intensity than other less selected lots we have used in our espresso blends in the past.
Farm: El Borbollon
- Owner: Alvarez Family
- Varietals: Typica
- Processing: Fully washed
- Altitude: 1,500 masl
- Region: Santa Ana Volcano
- Country: El Salvador