- Origin - El Salvador
- Altitude - 1070-1800 masl
- Varietals - Bourbon/Pacas/Pacamara
- Processing - Fully washed
- SCAA score - 84.88
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 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.