The El Salvador La Concordia is a product of the newly established HiU Coffee Company, whose founder, Graciano Cruz, is doing some very interesting things with honey- and natural-processed estate microlots in El Salvador and Panama.
Graciano Cruz launched HiU in 2010 at the Specialty Coffee Association of Amercia’s Annual conference, and is focussing on implementing quality programs to produce small lots scoring 85 and above from traceable estates in both Panama and El Salvador. Owner and producer of two successful quality focussed farms himself – Los Lajones and Emporium in Boquete, Panama – Graciano has turned his hand to working with other producers to produce unique microlots for the specialty coffee market.So far he has had a part in developing more than 500 customized microlots in collaboration with farmers and producers.
Graciano is currently working with the producers of Finca La Concordia, in Balsamo Quezaltepec, to challenge traditional processing methods in El Salvador. Using the dry process method, traditionally used more in Ethiopian processing, this coffee showcases the impact that processing has on the flavor in the cup.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the El Salvador La Concordia, from Craft and Mason Coffee Roasters in Lansing, Michigan. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Balsamo Quezaltepec, El Salvador
farm/factory: Finca La Concordia
elevation: 1300 – 1550 meters above sea level
Opening the La Concordia introduces a savory and spicy aroma. There are some sweeter elements, too – berries, honey, some cocoa powder -, but it’s the savory/spices that are prevalent; particularly cinnamon, nutmeg, and coriander.
Jumping into the first few sips of the coffee and my palate is greeted by flavors similar to what I found in the aroma; but in between notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, earth, cedar, and roast, I’m also detecting tastes of cookie dough, “honey-roasted almonds,” and raw cocoa nibs.
As it cools, the coffee brightens a little bit with fruit flavors, but it’s not much to overcome the fog of roastiness that conceals them. A light honeyed sweetness introduces silky and juicy flavors of cranberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, grape, spiced cherry liqueur, pear, and soft citrus that wraps in a sweet, short finish that has flashes of condensed milk fudge.
Light body; creamy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
The El Salvador La Concordia, from Craft and Mason Coffee Roasters, is a bit of an oddity. Devoted readers of this site are well-familiarized with my aversion to El Salvadoran coffees and their typical soft, restrained profiles by now; but even those coffees boom in comparison to this one. And what makes that so bizarre is that this coffee is a natural! You know, more often than not, naturally-processed coffees are loud and wild and unrestrained, but the La Concordia, well – not so much.
Last week I compared a natural Nicaragua to a pack of wild horses; the La Concordia seemed like a wild horse that had been wrangled, broken, and domesticated.
I have to say, too, the roast level didn’t help the case for this El Salvador – it was overdone and I’m sure that contributed to the coffee’s overall “staleness.” This coffee did nothing for me.
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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.