If you were to join the coffee subscription service, MistoBox, you’d receive a box of four coffees each and every month of the year.
Furthermore, as I’ve discovered with the January edition that graced my doorstep a couple weeks ago, each box contains four quality coffees. Well, the two that I’ve tried so far had great quality anyway.
Now it’s time to dive further into January’s MistoBox, to try out the third of the four coffees they sent me.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we are sipping a cup of Finca Buena Vista Reserva, El Salvador from The Brown Coffee Company, in San Antonio, Texas. Feel free to pull up a chair.
This coffee that represents Finca Buena Vista was grown in a reserve lot by the Menendez family.
The family has grown coffee for over four generations near the Cerro las Ranas (Mountain of Frogs), and these coffees are their prized products. The farms border untouched rainforest, where the coffee grows in harmony with wildlife. Plots of land from each of the family’s eight coffee farms are reserved for ecosystem conservation, and all of the farms work in harmony with the surrounding environment to produce and environmentally sustainable as well as extremely high quality coffee.
Miguel Menéndez Senior is a perfect example of how being passionate about coffee can affect a whole family. Miguel Senior manages the eight farms owned by the family and works with his two sons, Miguel Junior and Guillermo. Miguel has a deep attention to detail that is unparalleled on other farms. He makes daily walks through his farms during harvest time to ensure that all of the cherries are picked at their perfect ripeness level, and he is constantly improving upon techniques to increase the quality and quantity of his coffee.
The owners of Finca Buena Vista are extremely involved with the local community too. They have initiated projects to construct new homes for all of the families living on the farm and are currently planning an electrification project to bring power into the community.
The main focus of the Menendez family is maintaining the high level of quality for which they are known. At their central mill, Beneficio Piedras Grandes, extreme steps are taken to ensure that coffee is properly processed at every step. The process begins by ensuring that only the ripest coffee cherries are picked for processing. The pickers here are paid more than the average price to entice them to only pick the ripe cherries, and the results were astonishing. Huge piles of cherries are sorted through by the pickers to remove any green or partial green cherries before they are bagged to be driven to the mill later the afternoon.
The mill is immaculately organized, and every lot is kept separate throughout the whole process. Coffee passes through two stages of de-pulping, the first intended to separate out only ripe, mature cherries, and the second to process lower quality coffees in a separate pulper. Instead of fermentation tanks, the Menendez use a demucilizer to remove the mucilage and then the coffee is passed through three stages of washing before it is set out to dry on large, volcanically heated patios that very same night.
The Menendez family produces and exports all of their own coffee, and they are sure to pay attention to details at each and every step of the process. Everything that is done at the farm and milling level is ultimately to achieve the highest cup quality possible.
origin: Ataco, Apaneca-Ilamatepec, El Salvador
farm: Finca Buena Vista
elevation: 1300-1450 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, patio dried
Finca Buena Vista’s aroma is light and delicate, but I wouldn’t say it’s complex. It’s tea-like with perfumy herbal and floral aromatics; jasmine, hibiscus, and rose hips tickle the nose, ushering in a smooth, mellow caramel and bakers spices.
Immediately post-brew, those floral aromatics carry over into the flavor. Hibiscus and rose hips flutter over the palate delicately, tickling the roof of the mouth. This light airiness is almost completely offset as its grounded (pun totally intended) by a silken, earthy texture. The light delicacy, however, is just enough to reveal a mildly spicy cedar note and cashews in the finish.
When the coffee cools off, a straightforward plum acidity that rounds out the cup; it swirls around the palate, cleaning off the silt and leaving behind a clean, polished mouthfeel.
The fresh, clean feeling that I’m experiencing now is enabling my palate to pick out juicy fruit flavors, like strawberry, pear, green apple, more plum, and stone fruits like apricot, date, and peach. These flavors come rolling in lazily on a bed of sea salted caramel, and the chamomile tea-like flavors that were so prevalent in the beginning make a reappearance now in each sip’s finish.
Light body; silky mouthfeel; plum acidity; slightly dry finish.
the bottom line:
MistoBox is three for three, so far, as Brown Coffee Company’s Finca Buena Vista Reserva, El Salvador offers a solid, straightforward cup of coffee that does not disappoint.
This is a delicate coffee, and it has its moments of complexity, but it’s accessible. And this accessibility is what makes it a perfect option for everyday consumers that want to experience how a coffee can be much more than “just coffee.”
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.