Cerro Las Ranas
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Pardon this interruption of the #NashCrawl Series, but since we’re hanging out in Red State Country anyway, I thought “Why not stop by Flowood, Mississippi for another cup from BeanFruit Coffee Company?”.

Paul, the owner and roastmaster of BeanFruit, has been awfully good to us here at the Table—this is the third package of coffee he’s sent my way. Last week, of course, we got to sample his Kochere offering, and a few months ago he sent us a bit of his Tanzania. This week, he’s switched gears on us, shifting our focus from Africa to Central America.

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we are sipping a cup of Cerro Las Ranas El Salvador Santa Ana, courtesy of BeanFruit Coffee Company in Flowood, Mississippi. Feel free to pull up a chair.

The San Francisco Estate is located between the Apenaca and Ateno mountain ranges in the Santa Ana area of El Salvador. Owned and operated by JASAL, the home of Jose Antonio Salaverria and Aida Batlle, the finca itself takes its name from a lagoon that is populated by thousands of frogs (Cerro Las Ranas means Hill of the Frogs). The coffees produced here are grown with extreme respect for the environment, harvested and milled in accordance with Rainforest Alliance guidelines

Cerro is the pride and joy of Don Jose Antonio and since the devastating Santa Ana Volcano eruption in October, 2005, he has restored the farm to pristine shape; it doesn’t hurt, of course, that this eruption made the soil of the Las Ranas farm rich with nutrients because of the volcanic ash.

The ripe cherries are picked and partially wet processed at Las Cruces Mill, but the left to dry on clay patios with the mucilage still on the bean. This Pulped Natural Process is becoming more popular in Central America for the sweet fruit note it imparts to the cup.

the basics:

origin: Santa Ana, El Salvador
farm: Las Ranas (JASAL)
elevation: 1450-1780 meters above sea level
cultivars: Bourbon
process: pulped natural, patio dried
certifications: Rainforest Alliance

the coffee:


Getting into the first few sips now, and I’m getting a semi-sweet bouquet of berries that tickles the tip of the tongue, spreads to the sides of the mouth, and slowly drips off the back—strawberry tartness, blueberry juiciness, cranberry sweetness, maybe even just a dash of raspberry. I don’t want to get too carried away listing all the berries I know, but I definitely taste it.

As it cools, a bubbling up of cocoa powder, caramel, and honey emerges, followed by a flutter of orange blossoms. There also begins to emerge the crisp, tartness of Nashi pear and Fuji apple.

At room temperature, the cocoa and honey seem to blend together and congeal, spreading out and coating my palate and sides of my mouth. With each sip now, a zesty lemon/orange acidity streams right down the middle of my tongue, rinsing my palate clean and leaving behind a really clean freshness that finishes off with a smack of roasted almond.

Medium body; creamy mouthfeel; zesty acidity; clean finish.

the bottom line:

The Cerro Las Ranas El Salvador, from BeanFruit Coffee Company, offers a flavor experience that isn’t the “norm” or “average” for El Salvadoran coffees from this region. A lot of Santa Ana coffees are smooth and sweet, but they’re consistent—they typically don’t veer away from the baseline flavor profiles that they’re famous for.

The Cerro Las Ranas, on the other hand, goes a little past that. It’s a truly delightful cup, sweet and creamy, and all that—but it has a little bit more going for it than its more typical counterparts.

As I mentioned, a lot of these coffees, I would describe as “consistent”—they’re pleasant and tasty, sure, but they don’t veer away from the initial few sips. The flavor profile up front will remain, more or less, all the way through the middle and late stages of this cup. Cerro Las Ranas, though, manages to stay interesting throughout, presenting new flavors and fusing others in each of the cup’s life stages.

I liked this one—a really good middle of the day, post-meal sort of coffee. Great structure, flavorful, nice balance… What more can you ask for?

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