This is the third coffee in the Wild Forest series from the Las Brumas farm. Ernesto Menéndez has spent the last 8 years cultivating various coffee varieties under the forest canopy, in harmony with the existing ecosystem. This is a much slower and more difficult route; the plants took 7 years to be harvestable instead of 3 years elsewhere on the farm, and each year the cherries mature much slower than the rest of the farm and require picking later in the year. However, this slower maturation improves the sweetness and acidity of the coffee, and because the soil is a forest floor instead of highly cultivated land, there is an abundance of nutrients for the plants to thrive.
It is also much better for the surrounding environment. In intensive commercial farming, the land is stripped in order to plant as much coffee as possible, resulting in a monoculture which is ultimately bad for soil health and biodiversity. In general, specialty coffee is grown alongside shade trees and higher levels of biodiversity, but here Ernesto is taking it to the ultimate level and not removing the existing forest ecosystem at all.
Ernesto mainly grows Pacamara and SL28 in this area, and then processes them in three different ways. This coffee is a mix of both the Pacamara and SL28, and was processed using the washed method. This tends to create a cleaner and brighter coffee, which accentuates the acidity from both varieties.
It was coffee from the Wild Forest Project that our friend Dale Harris used to win the World Barista Championship in Seoul last year, and we’re honoured to be able to showcase some of the coffees Ernesto has been growing in this unique manner.
Country: El Salvador
Farm Name: Las Brumas
Farm Owner: Ernesto Menéndez
Elevation: 1700 - 2000 masl
Coffee Variety: Pacamara & SL28
Processing Type: Washed
Number of years partnership: 2 years