Los Inmortales El Salvador Limited Release
- June 2018
- Written by : Andy Atkinson
Retail Regional Manager of New Markets & East Coast / Green Coffee Buyer
Each time I visit Vickie Dalton Díaz at the mill where she processes coffee from her farm Finca Matalapa, I feel a sense of wonder. In this special place, the coffee trees grow out of steep ridges overlooking the Pacific Ocean, seeming to defy gravity, while intense winds rip through the valley below and up the mountain, contorting the trees and tearing at their leaves. It amazes me that the coffee doesn’t just withstand this abuse, but that it seems to thrive in response to the stress, producing such wonderful flavors year after year.
Coffees from the tablones of Matalapa have always held a distinct flavor from the rest of the area, and this almost violent climate surely has a heavy hand in shaping that.
As Vickie and I venture higher on the farm, moving from the lowest sections, or tablones, the warm breezes carrying moisture from the ocean begin to cool. The hardwood trees planted there break the chilly winds and shade the coffee, which takes a little more time to ripen under these conditions. As a result, the coffees from these tablones tends to be sweeter and more complex than the coffee from the coffee groves below. We often find the best lots Matalapa has to offer in these higher-elevation tablones, occasionally keeping a truly exceptional lot separate from the rest of the coffee we buy from Vickie for special releases. Perennial fans of our Matalapa releases may recognize these Limited Release coffees by the names of the tablones on which they were grown and for which they were named. This year we bring you coffee from a part of the farm named Calagual. Coffees from this tablón have often been a part of our Matalapa offerings in the past, but never held aside as a Limited Release. This year’s unique weather proved to be perfect for coffee growing on this part of the farm, and produced the best lot we can remember ever tasting from Calagual.
It seems that every year in recent memory, the weather in El Salvador has a new curve to throw. For two years, temperatures rose early in the western part of the country, where rains were light and late to arrive, and the occasional late storm knocked cherries from the trees. This year, we saw precisely the opposite: rain fell in abundance and the cool, cloudy, wet and windy conditions that characterize the country’s rainy season ran into late into November. This weather stressed the trees a bit more, allowed the cherries to stay on the trees longer and drew out the drying time on the mill. It seems that the coffees from the Calagual section of the farm finally had their perfect weather, creating the sort of sweet complex flavors we have come to love from all Vickie’s coffees.