This El Salvador is a washed processed microlot on the La Bendicion estate in the Chalatenango region, very close to the Honduras border. The farm sits at 4500 feet up in the mountains and grows only three varietals of coffee, keeping each of them separate. This one is the Pacas varietal. The farm divides its harvest into washed and honey processes, and we bought the washed lot. The were the 2nd place winners of the Cup of Excellence and have the best washed bean from the country that we tasted this year.
In the very lightest roast, just 30 seconds out of first cracks, you find a bright tangy plum and raspberry sweetness. It has a bright acidity and an almond aftertaste. The overall experience seems on par with something like eating a vanilla wafer with a fruit glaze.
I like it equally well as a medium roast, just right at the verge of 2nd cracks. Here it is sweeter and smoother and you get a silky mouthfeel. You lose acidity, lose complexity, but you pick up tastes of apple and chocolate, with a bubblegum aftertaste.
If you enjoy espresso, I do recommend this coffee roasted 30 seconds into the 2nd cracks. That velvety mouthfeel is still apparent in espresso, and it has little bitterness. It's not the most complex of espresso, certainly there are some chocolate and nutty flavors, but its the smoothness that grabs the attention. Blending it into espresso is highly recommended.
USA arrival: August 2018
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