Finca Bosque Lya achieved prominence in coffee circles when it took first place in the 2004 Cup of Excellence. This is a 96 hectare farm—64 of which are under coffee, the balance being left as natural rainforest. However, in many parts of the farm it is difficult to recognise what is pure forest and what isn’t, since so many shade trees are used. There is an abundance of wildlife including birds such as humming birds, orioles and hawks and many migratory species. Mammals include wild cats, armadillos, deer and possum.
The farm is situated in the municipality of Santa Ana on the foothills of the Ilamatepec Volcano (or Santa Ana Volcano as it now more commonly known) in the Apaneca Mountain range of western El Salvador. The farm was established in 1932 when Gustavo Vides Valdes named his property in honour of his newly born daughter, Lya. The farm name Bosque Lya translates to “Lya’s Forest.”
Bourbon is the most prevalent variety—mainly red though but there is a little orange and yellow too, though there are many other varieties grown for experimentation and diversity and these include Pacamara, Caturra and Typica.
Careful selection of ripe red to almost burgundy cherries are harvested between January and March and are transported directly to the El Borbillon Mill close to Santa Ana, where they are pulped and washed before being sun dried on patios. The beans are then stored in ‘pergamino’ (still in parchment) until the time of shipment, a process that helps the development of flavor. They are then dry-milled and packed into GrainPro sacks ready for shipment.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the El Salvador Bosque Lya, from Coffee Mojo in Wicklow, Ireland. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Santa Ana, El Salvador
farm: Finca Bosque Lya
producer: Lya Castaneda
elevation: 1470 – 1650 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, patio dried
certifications: Rainforest Alliance
The Bosque Lya’s aroma is sweet, but crisp. Its scent isn’t a lingering one, but it is an impeccable one, with notes of red fruits, honey, brown sugar, and floral aromatics.
Diving into the cup and my taste buds are taken over by an absolutely beautiful coffee; the quintessential El Salvadoran coffee, in fact—the coffee that other El Salvadoran coffees strive to be. A very sweet blanket of salted caramel and honey spreads over the palate, while, already, silky and juicy notes of pear and apple come sweeping in over the top.
As it cools off, the coffee is taken over by bright fruits that match the aroma in its crispness. The apple and pear that made themselves present up front only intensify with a slightly tart (but very refreshing) and malic acidity, and those lead to further flavors as the dropping temperature peels away layer after layer: cherry, pomegranate, pecan, vanilla, and rose hips.
Medium body; juicy mouthfeel; malic acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
The El Salvador Bosque Lya, from Coffee Mojo, is an utterly beautiful coffee. Sweet, refreshing, and lively, the Bosque Lya presents the palate with gorgeous red fruits, honey tones, and floral aromatics that simply delight.
There’s not much else I can say about this coffee—it is the epitome of how sweet and refined an El Salvadoran coffee can be.
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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.