Sparkling water decaf El Salvador-Nicaragua
Sparkling water decaf
Shortbread, roasted hazelnuts and a soft malic acidity and a medium body
Francisco Alberto Blándon is a real talker. It is one of those farmers who can talk about coffee all day, every day. La Brellera is, together with his daughter, his treasure. Nevertheless, he did not become a coffee farmer because he wanted to; it was necessary to become one. In fact, before the war broke out, Francisco was studying to become a doctor. However, war changes everything. Although his career in medicine did certainly help during the war, he was not destined to become a doctor. Rather, the contrary, he says he was destined to marry with coffee - and never divorce. Since then 24 years have passed, in that time Francisco took 30 days off. Not per year, in total. A lot has changed over these 24 years. Twenty years ago the quality of coffee didnt matter, coffee was coffee. Now the market has changed and one has to adapt to produce quality coffee in order to make this business profitable. This change his fueled Franciscos passion for different types of varieties. As a certified seed producer he knows all about it - hence, you can find many different varieties at La Brellera.
However,a focus on quality isnt the only change. The climate also changes, which brings new challenges. It is a tricky new eco-system a farmer has to adapt to. Francisco excels in doing so. Coffee has brought Francisco to many different places. He has worked as an agronomist for many large haciendas, and still does. From these big companies he has learned to treat a farm like a multinational company. Organization is key. But that is not only what makes his farm special, it is Francisco´s deep felt love for each cherry to makes his eyes shine. Another aspect Francisco deems to be essential is the fermentation process. His extensive knowledge about varieties extends to the wet-mill as well. A very thin line exist between under and over fermentation - this is hugely influenced by the variety and temperature. In fact, due to the colder climate of this harvest coffee need to ferment up to 24 hours.In Central America, El Salvador has the nickname, ‘Pulgarcito’, which means little thumb and is a reference to the tiny size of this important coffee producing nation. Over half of the nation’s coffee is made of the Bourbon variety and there is plenty of sweet, complex, highly acidic coffee being produced. Around 90% of the country’s coffee is also shade grown, which helps to maintain the rich biodiversity that thrives in rural El Salvador. El Salvador is also famous for its volcanoes and as many of these mountains of molten rock are still active the soil is extremely rich and fertile, making it perfect for coffee growth. These have resulted in some strikingly, beautiful views, with Volcan Santa Ana and Izalco standing out as the largest and most well known.Los Pirineos:Los Pirineos Coffee farm has been in the Baraona Family for more than 120 years, since the family first moved there in 1880. Gilberto, one of the 3rd generation of coffee farmers from the Baraona family, now owns the farm and has designed and built the most modern specialty coffee mill in the whole of El Salvador. All of the processing takes place on the farm, and Gilberto oversees all aspects of production with a meticulous eye for detail.The farm is located at the top of the Tecapa Volcano, in the Tecapa Chinameca coffee region, at around 1450 masl. Specialising in Bourbon and Pacamara, Los Pirineos has one of the oldest heirloom Bourbon varieties in the country. It has also been the experimental ground for several new varietal projects started last year, including the Central America F1 variety. This year, Los Pirineos is starting to grow more than 10 new varietals, including Orange Pacamara, Geisha, Bourbon Elite, Bourbon Laurina, Javas, and Kenya. For the lower altitudes, below 1200 metres, Gilberto also grows Castillo Naranjal, Costa Rica 95, Lempira, Obata, and Casiopea.
The farm and mill have 50 full-time employees and they take on a further 75 during the peak of the harvest. Gilberto’s obsession with quality means he pays well above the legal minimum wages to all his staff. He requires far more precision and attention to detail than the average coffee farm and so he has invested time and money in the people who manage the processing. As a result of the training and support he offers, even his temporary staff are consistent from year to year. Gilberto’s dedication to quality is uncompromising. He has the largest coffee seed bank in private hands in El Salvador, and is constantly testing and exploring new options for unique cup character. It is with great excitement that we are working with Gilberto, and we hope to extend our offering from Los Pirineos in the coming years.