Los Luchadores Coffee, El Salvador

Origin: El Salvador
Process: Washed & Double Soaked
Producers: JASAL - El Molino
Grown: Sonsonate department, Apaneca-Ilamatepec region, El Salvador
Altitude: 1400 to 1600 metres
Varietals: Pacamara
Cupping Score: 85.5

Tasting Notes:
This lot is full of the flavours cranberry, grapefruit, orange, green apple, hibiscus, nuts and chocolate. 

Brew Guide:
V60 and AeroPress

Fine to medium grind
15g to 240ml water
91-96 ℃
2-3 minutes

Medium Grind
30g to 500ml water
91-96 ℃
2-4 minutes

Roast Info:
Light to Medium Roast

(Image by @rodrigoflores_photo on Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/photos/T5qjs-63kqQ)

Farm Info:
JASAL, is a fifth-generation family-owned business run by the Salaverría family, with ownership of the farms split between brothers, mothers, and grandparents.

There are three main estates producing some of the best coffees from El Salvador. These are El Molino, El Encanto and San Francisco, all located in the in the Sonsonate department, part of the Apaneca-Ilamatepec region, one of the best coffee cultivation regions in the Country.

The region itself is located among  the Cordelliera de Apeneca, a volcanic mountain range, which runs through the Ahuachapán, Santa Ana, and Sonsonate departments in the west of El Salvador.

This coffee lot known as Los Luchadores, translates as "the wrestlers, ” is made with the Pacamara varietal, a hybrid of Pacas found in El Salvador and Maragogipe, from Brazil. With characteristics from both varietals, the resulting coffee is quirky and has bags of character, much the same as its name.

The coffee’s name marks a particularly unique pop-culture phenomenon, the arrival of Lucha Libre, (the term literally means free-style wrestling), which exploded across Latin America, following two key events which catapulted Lucha Libre into the mainstream. The first was the arrival of television, which allowed wrestling to be broadcast around the country. The second was the arrival of legendary wrestler El Santo in Mexico in the 1942.

Processing Info:

All of the coffee harvested by JASAL is processed at their family mill, Beneficio Las Cruces, which was originally established in 1903, and was later purchased and kitted out by the family with state-of-the-art equipment in 2004.

The state-of the-art set up means that Beneficio Las Cruces has the ability to process washed, semi washed, honey and natural coffees across patios, raised beds and mechanical driers. Having a centralised mill means focussed staff can pay attention to quality on the farms as well as cherry coming in, process consistency and final cup profile.

After wet processing, the coffee beans are soaked for around 10 hours in clean water, before being soaked once more for a further 10 hours. This double washing process is also known as double fermentation or Kenyan processing. It’s associated with an exceptionally clean tasting coffee – even more so than standard single washed processing - The result in this case is subtle, but delivers improved clarity, depth and body in each and every cup.

Coffee Country Info:

Despite El Salvador being the smallest country in Central American, it has played a significant part in the development of speciality coffee as a commodity.

El Salvador produces high-quality coffee beans grown in rich volcanic soil at high altitudes. Which means the soil and the climate are ideal for a number of specialist coffee varieties, including Bourbon, Pacas, Pacamara, Catimor, Catuaí, Catisic, Caturra, and Cuscatleco.

These varieties are mainly grown in six areas of the country; Alotecpec-Metapan, El Balsamo -Quezaltepec, Apaneca-Ilamatepec, Chichontepec, Tecapa-Chinameca, and Cacahuatique.

Coffee has been an integral part of El Salvador’s heritage and culture since its introduction in 1779. The first coffee plants were found on the land belonging to individual Salvadoran farmers from Ahuachapan; who had obtained seeds from Guatemala. By the mid-1800s, the then government put mechanisms in place to fully support the harvesting of coffee beans, the first was a decree introduced in 1846 to establish some specific benefits for those farmers who dedicated their farms to coffee production, one such measure meant that anyone who worked on coffee farm was exempted from military service for ten years and alongside that coffee was originally exempt from tax, however, that quickly changed after 7 years or so, with so many farms involved in growing.

Things really took off though with the signing of the first commercial treaty with the USA in 1853, which led to an explosion in commercial coffee growing. Additionally, the foundation of the International Bank in 1880, and the arrival of rail infrastructure and the installation of telegraph lines also saw an increase in production. By 1895, over 6000 hectares of land was dedicated to coffee cultivation, with many farmers seeing the crop as a way out of poverty. By the 1920s and 1930s coffee had become the country’s sole export crop, with coffee accounting for around 90% of all trade exports.

This all came to a dramatic end with the Great Depression with a third of all coffee farmers without work or money. However, the industry soon bounced back and by 1970 El Salvador was ranked the fourth largest producer of coffee in the world. Sadly civil war erupted in 1979, lasting for 13 years virtually decimating the industry in the process.

The impact of the conflict can still be seen today, with many farmers owning small 20-hectare farms. Though by 2018, things were improving, with coffee accounted for 60% of El Salvador’s exports. Alongside that the implementation of Fair-Trade measures has significantly improved the livelihoods of many coffee farmers, presenting farmers with the opportunity of growing high-quality coffee.