Los Inmortales El Salvador Limited Release
- December 2018
- Written by : Andy Atkinson
Retail Regional Manager of New Markets & East Coast / Green Coffee Buyer
At Intelligentsia, we are committed to curating our menu and presenting our coffees in ways that make your coffee buying decisions easiest. Our goal is to eliminate any barriers that stand between you and the amazing coffees we source. As part of that effort, this year we consolidated all our El Salvador coffees under one iconic banner, the Los Inmortales mark.
The move brings all of our top-quality coffees into one dynamic release that takes you on a flavorful journey of all the diverse terroirs of El Salvador where they were grown.
Our tour began with storied estates in celebrated coffee regions, starting in a coastal mountain range in the La Libertad and moving westward to iconic farms around Santa Ana. We also strayed from the well-worn path through the country’s western highlands to visit a non-traditional coffee area in Morazan in the country’s eastern highlands. The final stop in the 2018 El Salvador origin tour brings us to another remote coffee source, a single small farm in the highest reaches northern region of Chalatenango.
Unlike the established coffee estates of the western areas of El Salvador, most of Chalatenango’s coffee production happens on tiny smallholder farms that often have only recently been converted from other uses. As a consequence, Chalatenango is also notable for the absence of the large mills that process coffee cherry for the owners of larger farms in the country’s west. This influence has pushed the post-harvest process to micro-mills on individual farms, putting the entire coffee process in the hands of growers. When combined with the environmental factors at the higher-elevation farms in Chalatenango, these influences create a one-of-a-kind environment for coffee production in El Salvador.
This coffee comes to us from Blanca Marina Reyna’s Finca El Peñasco in the La Palma area of Chalatenango. I respected her work as a farmer after I first tried her coffee in blind tastings and was blown away by its tremendous sweetness. But it was only after I learned more about her story that I gained a deeper sense of respect for her as a person.
Blanca only started in coffee after the passing of her late husband Jose in 2009. She used the money she received from one of his debtors to join the growing move toward coffee in La Palma. Blanca started small, buying cherry from small farmers with no access to the market and commercializing it. She spent four years learning the coffee industry before taking the plunge and purchasing a small parcel of land. Through the next two seasons, she learned the ropes of managing a coffee farm, quickly learning that investments in proper farm management pay dividends in the cup. By the third year, her sole focus was growing coffee for the specialty market through intensive management of every aspect of her farm’s operations. Her coffees stand as a testament to her commitment to quality. And her story is a powerful testament to her resilience, spirit of innovation and commitment to make something amazing out of something tragic. I am so happy we found Blanca through her delicious coffee.