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Tasting Notes: Strawberry and caramel sweetness with citrus finish.
We’re glad you received your coffee this month. We hope you have brewed up and like this El Salvador as much as we do!
Farm: Finca El Manzanal
Varietal(s): Typica, Bourbon, Catimor & Caturra
Processing: Fully washed & dried on African beds and clay patios
Altitude: 1,200 metres above sea level
Owner: Agricor S.A. de C.V. (Jose Enrique Gutierrez)
Town: Concepción de Ataco, Ahuachapan
Region: Apaneca-Ilamatepeq Mountain Range
Country: El Salvador
Total size of farm: 5 hectares
Area under coffee: 5 hectares
‘Agricor S.A. de C.V’ is made up of a group of smaller farms, including Finca El Manzanal. Jose Enrique Gutierrez, a fourth generation coffee producer, owns and manages all of the farms that make up the larger property. Sr. Gutierrez co-owns the renowned Finca La Providencia, along with Fernando Alfara, who owns Finca (and Beneficio) El Carmen. Finca El Manzanal is located in the beautiful colonial town of Ataco – where Gutierrez uses his extensive experience and knowledge to run his farm – in El Salvador’s Apaneca Ilamatepeq Mountain Range. 1,200 meters above sea level, the rich soils that range across the hillsides home the five hectares of land that Finca El Manzanal is situated in.
Jose Enrique Gutierrez - fourth generation coffee producer
Varieties of Bourbon, Catimor, Caturra, Pacas, and Typica feature in the farm that Sr. Gutierrez and his son purchased five years ago. Gutierrez’s son has become increasingly involved in the farm’s activities, including a renovation plan which involves the expansion of the Typica plantation by five hectares, planned for 2016. For 75 years, the diverse fauna in the region has been sheltered by the shade provided by native tree species. Gutierrez takes full advantage of the ideal conditions in the region for production of high quality coffee by mixing experimental new methods of agriculture with traditional practices, optimising yields and working in harmony with the environment. The production methods used by Sr. Gutierrez are meticulous, aiming to increase not only productivity, but optimum quality in addition.
Workforce and Jose's son
Using seeds sourced from only the strongest trees on Sr. Gutierrez’s properties, nurseries are created to home the new seedlings which are then re-planted to create the farm’s coffee plantations. Each tree has unique needs, met by an analysis that determines the fertility of the soil. Three times a year, rounds of soil fertilisation are applied, with four rounds of foliar fertilisation following. The farm uses only the most essential chemical insecticides to control (primarily non-harmful biological controls) the soil pests and diseases (such as nematodes). One of the largest issues to threaten the organic methods used by the farm is coffee leaf rust which attacks the leaves of the coffee plant. Despite an eco-friendly product that treats coffee leaf rust effectively not currently existing, Sr. Gutierrez and his son have begun to use a fungus called Lecanisilium Lecani, yielding mixed results. Another development has been combating the fungus by fertilising with Silica, making the leaf thicker and more resistant to the rust attacks.
Finca El Manzanal - Raised Beds
The harvest of the farms is similar to the cultivation activities in the sense that only the strictest attention to detail and quality is paid. Quality is constantly at the forefront of production. After only the highest standard of cherries are picked, they are hand sorted to remove any discoloured or damaged cherries, ensuring only the highest quality is delivered to the wet mill, 20 minutes away at Finca El Carmen. El Carmen processes coffees using the natural, honey, and fully washed methods. Once de pulped, they are left to ferment between six and twelve hours. They are then fully washed and delivered to African (raised) beds and clay patios to dry, being turned constantly until they reach an optimal humidity of 11%. The farm has achieved a well-balanced cup thanks to the stringent processing practices that are in place.
Jose Enrique Gutierrez and his wife
Finca El Manzanal, along with the rest of the farms that form the Agricor group, provides employment for 75 people year-round, with an additional 150 people during the harvest.