Archive for el salvador coffee

El Salvador 2010 Cup of Excellence – Winning Farms

Posted in coffee, coffee cupping, coffee roasting with tags , , , , , on May 14, 2010 by Chad

This week marked the 2nd week in a row an international jury descended on a Central American host for a Cup of Excellence competition.  The jury awarded the Cup of Excellence to thirty lots, including three lots achieving a CoE Presidential award for scoring higher than 90 points on the final day.  From the CoE press release on the event, the international jury was somewhat divided in its preferences for El Salvador’s choice bourbons and pacamaras.  Here’s hoping we are able to get our hands on some gems like we did with the Altamira Pacamara from last year.

Lot # Farm Farmer Region Score
1 Finca Suiza Julia Margarita Martinez Molina Apaneca-Ilamatepec 91.05
2 El Ausol Maria Elena Avila Magaña De Muyshondt Apaneca-Ilamatepec 90.48
3 La Montanita Antonio Rene Aguilar Lemus Alotepec-Metap N 90.45
4 San Isidro Bessie Batres Smith De Giron Apaneca-Ilamatepec 89.25
5 Los Andes Juan Jose Ernesto Menendez Arguello Apaneca-Ilamatepec 89.16
6 San Joaquin F.A. Pacas Y Cia Apaneca-Ilamatepec 88.86
7 Los Pirineos Los Pirineos S.A. De C.V. Tecapa-Chinameca 88.84
8 La Batalla #1 Guillermo Magaña Flores Alotepec-Metap N 88.84
9 Las Mercedes Giron Salazar Hijos Y Cia Francisco Apaneca-Ilamatepec 88.70
10 Llano Grande Proyectos De Venta Y Compra, S.A. De C.V… Apaneca-Ilamatepec 88.18
11 La Pinera Luis Alonso Araujo Cacahuatique 86.50
12 El Porvenir Adilia Encarnacion Aguilar De Pullinger Tecapa-Chinameca 86.30
13 Agabo Adda Mercedes Serarols Diaz Apaneca-Ilamatepec 86.07
14 San Carlos Carlos Alfredo Mendez Florez Apaneca-Ilamatepec 86.05
15 Cerro Negro Jose Armando Portillo Peraza Alotepec-Metap N 85.95
16 La Gloria/Nueva Granada Maria Jose Huezo Rodriguez Apaneca-Ilamatepec 85.91
17 Santa Teresa I Marco Antonio Batres, Teresa Eugenia Gia… Apaneca-Ilamatepec 85.70
18 Casa De Zinc Casa De Zinc, S.A. De C.V. Apaneca-Ilamatepec 85.18
19 La Campanula Lima Y Socios Apaneca-Ilamatepec 85.07
20 Pinares 2 Hector Manuel Velasquez Guzman Volcan de San Salvador 85.05
21 Los Amates – Tablon Los Chorros Finca Los Amates, S.A. De C.V. Apaneca-Ilamatepec 85.05
22 Divina Providencia Roberto Samuel Ulloa Vilanova Apaneca-Ilamatepec 85.05
23 Villagalicia Pretoria, S.A. De C.V. Apaneca-Ilamatepec 84.73
24 Opalo Daniel Ernesto Aguilar Zarco Apaneca-Ilamatepec 84.68
25 El Jocotillo Anna Elaine Del Carmen Rivas De Vega Apaneca-Ilamatepec 84.55
26 Santa Barbara Cia. Agrop. De Exportacion Centroamerica… Apaneca-Ilamatepec 84.45
27 Las Nubes I Ernesto Lima Mena Apaneca-Ilamatepec 84.39
28 El Milenio Kristal S.A. Apaneca-Ilamatepec 84.36
29 Miralvalle Marta Dolores Menendez De Riera Apaneca-Ilamatepec 84.23
30 Las Palmas Los Pirineos S.A. De C.V. Tecapa-Chinameca 84.11
La Batalla Guillermo Magaña Flores

Donor Shout Out – Round Two

Posted in coffee, coffee roasting, home roasting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2010 by Chad

Another quick post to thank more of folks that have set up the this year’s home roasters’ auction for Coffee Kids, Bids for Coffee Kids for success.

Many thanks to Nelson Valverde of Invalsa Coffee, who donated  ten-pound lots of two different Cup of Excellence coffees and three microlots from Bolivia.  All of the Bolivian lots just arrived, and the CoE lots are from the 2009 Coe in Costa Rica and Guatemala.  All lots were vacuum packed in the country of origin.  Thank you, Invalsa!

Many thanks to Craig Holt, Karen KasKaren Kazmierczak, and the rest of the folks at Atlas Coffee Importers, who donated two separate lots to the auction: 10 lbs. of El Salvador Los Pirineos Pacamara and 15 lbs. of Brazil Samambia Peaberry Yellow Bourbon Pulp Natural.  Thank you, Atlas!

Many thanks to Connie Blumhardt, Kelly Stewert, and the rest of the folks at Roast Magazine.  Connie has contributed two one-year subscriptions to Roast, as well as two full sets of back issues.  Thank you Roast Magazine!

Many thanks to Jeff Woods, Paul Balmer, and the rest of the folks at Dillanos Coffee Roasters, who have donated another graphic design project like last year.  Last year’s winner is more than happy with the result, which you can see at the top of the page.  Dillanos’ graphic designers are wonderful to work with, and can easily translate your vision and mission into a logo that pops.  Thank you Dillanos!

Stay tuned to more shout outs to all the wonderful folks who have contribute d to this year’s auction.  Bidding on the month-long lots will be open until May 29th, and bidding on Week One lots will continue until 6:00 pm Central (US) on Saturday May 8th.  Week Two lots will open at 6:01 pm Central (US), Saturday May 8th, over at our host the Green Coffee Buying Club (free registration required).

Persistance Pays

Posted in coffee, coffee roasting, home roasting with tags , , , , , , , on November 15, 2009 by Chad

The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A few months ago, I decided to take the plunge and host a pre-auction cupping of El Salvador 2009 Cup of Excellence samples. I was hoping to become part of a buying group for the auction that followed.  The auction came and went, and maddeningly, many of us were not able to pull a group together, despite the relatively low prices for this auction (many lots priced in the $3-$4/lb. range).

Prior to the auction, I had contacted the Colleen Anunu, Director of Coffee at  gimme! coffee, a small artisan roastery serving retail, wholesale, and web customers out of NY state. We discussed possible collaboration on Cup of Excellence buying, and agreed to compare notes on the El Salvador lots.

The auction opened, and, like the Colombia auction, I could not get together a group.   Here’s a quote from one of the many emails I sent after the auction:

There I was cobbling together folks, working on getting importing support, and BAM–auction closed. I should have done what I wanted to do and just bid on a lot and let the chips fall.

Pricing for the lot I most wanted, the #19 Altamira I, ended at $3.10.

Crushed.  It mattered not that I didn’t have the cash on had for the whole lot, or that I’d only bought my first bag of coffee little more than a year ago, or that my entire customer base is a small group of home coffee roaster spread thinly around the country.  Failure does not cup well.

Fortunately, I’ve been cursed blessed with modicum of stubbornness, so I started checking the listings for the winning bidders on each lot. Lot #19 Winning bidder….T.A.N. Coffee!  I had contacted Lay Yong Tan from TAN Coffee back in April, during the Colombia auction.  I got him on the third ring, offered my congratulations on his winning bids (he won the #21 and #25 lots as well), and asked the question du joir:  Would he be willing to sell any of the Altamira?

The answer?


(photo credit: gimme! Coffee)

Nearly five months after the auction, I purchased almost half the lot of Altamira I from TAN Coffee, and immediately sent ten 34.5 kg boxes to gimme! coffee.  Less than a week later, five boxes arrived here at No Quarter Coffee, accompanied by boxes of the #21 El Salvador, La Trinidad,  and the #27 Colombia lot, La Esperanza.  The first glimpse of the coffee housed at the freight terminal brought a smile to my face that remained for days.

El Salvador 2009 Cup of Excellence Washington DC Cupping – Initial Thoughts

Posted in coffee, coffee cupping, coffee roasting, coffee shop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2009 by Chad

Yesterday I held my fist Cup of Excellence official group cupping at the Counter Culture Coffee Washington DC training center.  We had six people cupping these excellent coffees.  First, I have to extend a huge thank you to Alex Brown, who runs the training center for all his hard work helping me host this event.  I could not have done this without you carrying so much of the load.  Thanks also to Counter Culture Coffee for setting up the training center as a place where all in the local specialty coffee scene can collect and do wonderful things.

Besides me, our small crowd included Samuel Demisse from Keffa Coffee, the aforementioned Alex Brown, Joel Finkelstein from Qualia Coffeehouse, David Fritzler from Tryst Coffeehouse, and our surprise star-cupper, Peter Lynagh (formerly of CoE Founder George Howell’s Terroir Coffee).  Here he is in action back in the Terroir days.

When I invited Peter, the name rang a bell–and I knew he had some experience, but I had not yet connected the dots–turns out I brought in ringer.  While he looks young, he’s been on two CoE juries (I believe he was the youngest jury member ever in the CoE) and learned and worked for over five years alongside George Howell and his staff at Terroir.  Peter was a great addition to our event, and had excellent insight into the beans–as did all of our cuppers.

We managed to stay mostly on schedule, and reached some consensus on lot preferences.  Overall, there were some outstanding lots on the table–most of agreed that the #1 lot stood out in the top five.  From my own view, the effort to arrange for a group cupping was infinitely more satisfying than cupping the lots solo.  I learned so much more from having all of us compare notes after each flight, and it was more satisfying to roast and prepare samples for more than just me.  Everyone enjoyed themselves and we drove off into thoughts of future plans for local events and cuppings.  Stay tuned for more events.

When I first hatched the idea of hosting a CoE cupping, I had little idea what I had signed up to do.  Roasting and cupping the Colombia samples gave me a view into the roasting effort and the concentration needed to cup several flights of similar origins, but I had yet to learn all the work needed to pull together the event for more people.   I had little idea of the interest or potential turnout, especially for an unknown and a homeroaster.  As it turned out, we had a good mix of people, and a small enough group that the logistics did not overwhelm me on the first attempt–another good learning experience.

One thought has stuck with me as I prepared and participated in the event.  As I try to break further into the industry, with coffee as an avocation vice vocation, it’s easy to see where I am at a great disadvantage in one area.  You see, in one particular way there is a huge difference between the home-(roaster, cupper, barista) and the professional roaster/barista/cupper that is comitted to their craft.  What the “home-” version lacks are the hours, the daily sessions, in many cases the tools, and, most importantly I think, the mentoring that many folks get from the master roasters and cuppers that have been refining their craft for decades.  If I look at what Peter brought to the table, it was easy to see the years of mentoring that George Howell and his staff gave him.  I see some of the same things as I interact more with the pros–I just do not have the hours available to practice my craft like they do.  It’s not insurmoutable, but it is an important lesson to remember.  I will not go as far to say that the home-roaster or home-barista does not have useful insights to provide to the discussion.  What I and we must remember is to engage the community with the humitily that all of us have far more to learn than we have learned.  That said, what I do think the home- community can bring to the table is an ability to collect, communicate, and innovate at a pace which the individual professional cannot hope to achieve. The sheer numbers, if networked well, can provide for a pace that could be blistering.  Think of an analogy of the current version of massively parallel computers, which consist of thousands of small, relatively cheap individual processors linked together and quickly took over the supercomputer market vs. the large, expensive processors like the old Cray computers.  That’s the potential of what a well-connected home- or prosumer community could bring to specialty coffee.

An event like this is humbling, and a good reminder of what more I have to learn.  That is not disheartening in the least–in fact, the view ahead looks better every day.

I’ll post some more thoughts after another round of CoE cupping tomorrow, along with some photos of this event that I managed to grab in between slurps.

El Salvador 2009 Cup of Excellence – Washington DC Cupping Event

Posted in coffee, coffee cupping, coffee roasting with tags , , , , , on May 25, 2009 by Chad

Thanks to the generosity of Alex Brown and the folks at Counter Culture Coffee, I will be hosting a cupping event for the top twenty lots from the El Salvador 2009 Cup of Excellence.  The event will occur at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday May 27, 2009 at the Counter Culture Washington DC training center.  Please contact me (chad at noquartercoffee dot com) if you are interested in attending.  The space is limited, but we’re not out of room just yet.  Map information is below.

I’m roasting up samples right now–these are some beautiful coffees, and the roasting fragrances fill the air with the anticipation of excellent cups.

El Salvador 2009 Cup of Excellence – Winning Farms

Posted in coffee, coffee roasting with tags , , , , , on May 5, 2009 by Chad

The 2009 El Salvador Cup of Excellence Competition completed last Friday.  The international jury awarded the Cup of Excellence to thirty-three lots.  Samples should be shipping to prospective buyers (including me) in the next few weeks.  Stay tuned for a Washington DC area cupping near the end of May.

Full listing of the winning lots can be found here; I’ve also reproduced them below.  Several farms are repeat winners from last year.  Two of the growers whose lots I purchased last year repeated this year-Ana Sylvia Elizabeth Schonenberg Aguiluz with San Isidro at #10 (she won the #19 last year) and Gloria Mercedes Rodríguez Fontan repeated at #18, albeit with a lot from Finca San José (vs. El Pourvenir from last year).  I’m looking forward to roasting and cupping these samples.  Congratulations to all the winning farms, and well done to the Salvadoran Coffee Council, or El Consejo Salvadoreño del Café.  From what Paol Mark from Transcend Coffee has written, the Consejo ran an outstanding competition.  Also, many thanks to the regular twitter and blog updates from Paol.  Those of us following the action from afar greatly appreciate your efforts to provide regular updates.

El Topacio
María Elena Ávila Magaña de Muyshondt
El Jocotillo Lote A
Anna Elaine del Carmen Rivas de Vega
Carmen Duch Martínez
Buenos Aires
Calera, S.A. de C.V.
La Batalla
Guillermo Magaña Flores
La Ávila
Ortiz Barriere, S.A. de C.V.
La Nueva
Rafael Duch Martínez
Santa Teresa I
Marco Antonio Batres Bendix
Nicolás Mountain
Marco Antonio Batres Bendix
San Isidro
Ana Sylvia Elizabeth Schonenberg Aguiluz
El Carmen
Juan Duch Martínez
Los Amates
Graciela Haydee Magaña de Fortin Magaña
Villa España
Alfredo Antonio Mena Lagos
El Torogoz
Regpa, S. A. de C. V.
San Jose/Shangrila
Juan Carlos Gregg Meza
Monte Nevado
Regina de Carmen Meardi de Papini
El Optimismo
Socorro Martínez de Zepeda
San José
Gloria Mercedes Rodríguez  Fontan
Altamira I
Marco Antonio Batres Bendix
Malacara Lote A
Pergamino, S.A. de C.V.
La Trinidad
Francisco Eduardo Nuñez Iraheta
Buena Vista
Casal S.A. de CV
Nombre de Dios San Juan
Maria Elena Domínguez de Botto Isassi
San José La Cumbre
Enma Duarte de Vásquez
Andres Peak
Marco Antonio Batres Bendix
El Cashal
Maria Alicia Otilia Magaña Castillo
La Montañita
Antonio Rene Aguilar Lemus
Santa Sofía
Pacvil, S.A. De C.V.
Nejapa Tablón Roma
Gloria Mercedes Rodríguez Fontan
Los Planes
Sergio Edmundo Ticas Reyes
Carmen Elena Calderón Sol de Escalón
Malacara Lote B
Chantuc, S.A. de C.V.
San Carlos
Amadeo Riera y Solsona