El Salvador Malacara B
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Malacara translates as “bad face” which is certainly an incongruous name for such a wonderful farm. Finca Malacara which was established by Rafael Alvarez Lalinde. Coffee has been grown on this farm since the 1800s and it has been owned and managed by the Alvarez family since 1889. As the farm has been passed down through three generations it has been separated into three farms—Malacara A, B and C.

Roberto “Chele” Dumont is one of a long line of coffee producers whose hard work and eye for detail shows in everything he does. Since taking over Malacara B, cup quality has improved tenfold.1

Malacara B is planted with Bourbon and Pacas varieties and has an extensive shade canopy of cedar, walnut, avocado, ingas and graviola. The shade helps to protect the growing cherry from the harsh midday sun and also protects younger trees from wind and rain damage. The shade trees often provide an additional crop for the farm. The farm has forty hectares planted with coffee and each hectare has approximately 3500 coffee trees.

The farm is located on the northern slope of the Santa Ana Volcano, amid a cloud covered, misty micro climate that creates the perfect environment in which to grow coffee.

Winners of three Cup of Excellence awards, Malacara B placed 13th in 2006, 20th in 2007 and in 2008 it took 5th place. Collecting such highly coveted recognition in such a short span shows the high quality of coffee that this estate produces.

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of El Salvador Malacara B, from Barefoot Coffee Roasters in San Jose, California. Feel free to pull up a chair.

the basics:

region: Santa Ana, El Salvador
farm: Finca Malacara B
producer: Roberto Dumont
association: N/A
elevation: 1500 – 1600 meters above sea level
cultivars: Bourbon
process: fully washed, patio dried
certifications: Direct Trade

the coffee:

The aroma of the Malacara B is sweet, fragrant, and brimming with complexity. It’s fruity and floral, with white wine-like hints of grapes, berries, stone fruit, and rose hips, but it’s also savory, with scents of caramel, honey, and cane sugar.

The first few sips kick off with full-bodied flavors of earthiness and spices (cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, cane sugar), introducing a lazy river of molasses, toffee, and caramel that slowly oozes over the palate before finishing off with a flutter of rose petals and macadamia on the back of the tongue.

As it cools the heaviness immediately post brew breaks up a bit, making way for light and delicate, but lively, citrus, berries, and stone fruits. Really beautiful notes of white peach, nectarine, apricot, green grape, black berry, Fuji apple (this also contributes to a malic juiciness that leaves behind a slightly astringent finish), cranberry, and raisin.

Medium body; syrupy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; slightly dry finish.

the bottom line:

The El Salvador Malacara B, from Barefoot Coffee Roasters, is a uniquely complex coffee and it deserves to be treated as such. Its delicate nature and the soft curves of its edges make for a cup that doesn’t have many obvious, well-defined flavor features, but its clarity certainly helps with that.

Due to its complexity, though, the coffee has to be brewed with care and a modicum of precision; the Malacara B is definitely finicky, but it’s not entirely unforgiving. So if you don’t dial it in perfectly, you’re not going to taste how tasty and refined this coffee is, but you’re going to get a pretty good idea.

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