Known as “the land of volcanoes,” El Salvador is the smallest Central American country (roughly the same size as New Jersey), but its reputation among specialty-coffee-growing regions has grown larger-than-life, especially since the early 2000s. While coffee was planted and cultivated here mostly for domestic consumption starting in the mid-1700s, it became a stable and significant crop over the next 100 years, notably increasing in national importance during the late 1800s, when the country’s indigo exports were threatened by the development and widespread marketability of synthetic dyes.
By the late 1970s coffee exports accounted for 50 percent of the GDP, but socioeconomic and political unrest hurled the country into civil war for more than a decade, and in the 1980s various land-redistribution projects and agrarian reform disjointed the coffee industry and caused the market to decline. Lacking the resources to continue farming, producers abandoned their coffee farms, and many were left overgrown and unharvested for years until a peace agreement was reached in the 1990s.
It is often said that the Cup of Excellence competition, which came to El Salvador in 2003, was the beginning of the new “wave” of interest in Salvadoran coffee, shining the first light on some of the special varieties the small country grows.
Jaime has worked in coffee for nearly 20 years years, after asking his father how to grow and produce it. Jaime’s son told his father, “Dad, when you die, I am going to plant a coffee tree on top of you”—and Jaime takes it as a compliment! Jaime says that growing coffee “is my life, it’s exactly what I want to do.” He loves to be at his farm, and while he has had many jobs in his life, coffee is what makes him happiest!
Country El Salvador
Farm Finca Don Jamie
Variety: Pacamara, Pacas, SL-28, and Gesha
Altitude 1450-1600 masl
Proc. Method Washed and Honey