Los Inmortales El Salvador
- May 2018
- Written by : Andy Atkinson
Retail Regional Manager of New Markets & East Coast / Green Coffee Buyer
Los Inmortales embodies the tradition of the storied estates in El Salvador that have been producing quality coffee for over a century. The lots that make up Los Inmortales exemplify the unyielding commitment to quality on farms that have been passed down through generations and continue to grow the traditional Bourbon and Pacas varieties that made the grand coffee estates of El Salvador famous. With that, we reintroduce Finca Matalapa to the Los Inmortales stable of farms, as it embodies all of the hallmarks that define a Los Inmortales coffee.
It seems that every year, the arrival of coffees from Vickie Dalton Diaz’s Finca Matalapa triggers the start of spring, or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, our annual release of the first lots from Finca Matalapa is inextricably linked in my mind with the breaking of the winter chill. The annual ritual is an amazing demonstration of how seasonality is expressed in our In-Season coffees. It’s no coincidence that the emergence of warm weather almost always lines up with Intelligentsia’s first roasts of coffee from Finca Matalapa.
If you have ever wondered what we mean when we talk about “seasonality,” look no further than our first release from the Northern Hemisphere. Due to its growing environment, coffees from Finca Matalapa are always among the first of the season to be harvested and shipped to us. The timing of harvest is dependent on how long it takes for the coffee trees to bear ripe fruit, which is a product of environmental variables including elevation, temperature, the timing and amount of rain and other factors. Some years, when the weather is especially warm and dry early in El Salvador’s dry season, harvest comes early. Other years, when the weather is cooler and wetter during that same time, harvest comes later. In the cooler years, these coffees arrive deeper into the winter months or in early spring, which means it hasn’t been our shelves for an unusually long time. This is one of the cooler years, which why we are releasing it in May. We believe it was well worth the wait.
When the weather stays cool like it did this year, coffee cherry takes longer to develop and ripen. This longer maturation time often gives coffee greater sweetness and complexity in the cup. And cool weather means parchment coffee takes longer to dry on the raised beds Finca Matalapa has built in recent years. This longer drying time means it is likely to stay sweet and complex for longer.
Not that this Finca Matalapa edition of Los Inmortales will last long.
In our commitment to seasonality, we work to keep our menu stocked with fresh In-Season coffees that are no more than nine months off harvest. But perennial fans of Finca Matalapa have become as accustomed to ringing in spring with its fresh-crop coffees as I have. And Finca Matalapa’s coffee, just like spring, took its time in showing up this year. Given the eager expectation of the release of our Finca Matalapa coffee, we don’t expect this coffee to be on the menu more than a matter of weeks.
Once it is gone, we won’t see Finca Matalapa again until the next season’s harvest is finished. And when that happens is all dependent on the climate.