This has been an incredibly busy week – besides the time dedicated to work and play in my personal life, I had an inordinate amount of coffee to drink! Two ten ounce bags from Passion House, a pound from BeanFruit, another pound from 40 Weight Coffee – and let’s not forget the six eight ounce bags of coffee that Dark Matter Coffee Company gave me to sample. These six bags were the representatives of six new coffees they are currently featuring, after their recent buying trip to El Salvador.
Unfortunately, they didn’t take you or me with them to El Salvador, but these coffees have been so damn good, that each sip is almost like actually being there!
Okay, it’s nothing at all like actually being there – but the coffees have been pretty damn good.
Ready to embark on Day Four of our coffee-tasting trip? Feel free to pull up a chair.
Finca San Jose – located in the midst of the Apaneca-Ilamatepec Mountain Range – is owned by Juan Carlos Gregg Meza. San Jose Farm was inherited to Juan Carlos by his grandfather in 1997; to honor his grandfather, Juan Carlos committed to this great treasure with profound responsibility and passion.
The 3.5 hectares of San Jose is mainly cultivated with the Bourbon variety, an heirloom variety in El Salvador. Due to its small size, San Jose receives garden-like management all year round, from agricultural activities during the rainy season to harvesting in the dry season. All of these activities are performed by an experienced team of farm workers guided by Cruz Aguilar, the farm’s administrator, who has been working at this particular farm for over fifteen years.
All of the hard work and dedication immediately paid off when Juan Carlos took over as his farm has placed highly in the El Salvador Cup of Excellence.
Origins: San Salvador, El Salvador
Farms: Finca San Jose
Elevation: 1200-1500 meters above sea level (strictly high-grown)
Process: washed, patio-dried
Certifications: Direct Trade
The aroma of this cup is incredibly lively – much livelier than the three previous coffees we’ve had from this region. It has a very distinct scent of green grapes, berries, lilac, and honeyed brown sugar. Very fruity and floral and sweet.
The flavor, though, is even more alive than the aroma. Right off the bat, my palate is immediately greeted by a rush of tropical fruits. Everything from the exotic (mango, peach, papaya, grapefruit) to the more common (raspberry, blackberry, currants, green grapes) make appearances in this cup. Underneath all of that, though, is a smooth milk chocolate flavor and creaminess that keeps the coffee grounded; if it weren’t for that, this cup would be a lot like the Panama Esmeralda I had a while ago – just a non-stop and aggressive onslaught of fruitiness and acidity. It’s the creamy texture and milk chocolate notes that make this a balanced and well-rounded cup.
Fresh and lively, but rounded, high acidity; heavy body; dry finish with a green grape aftertaste.
the bottom line:
I honestly wasn’t expecting Dark Matter Coffee Company’s Finca San Jose Sonsonate to be what it actually was. After the first three cups – which are all from the same general region, grown at the same general elevation, and are so similar in terms of cultivar – I was thinking this coffee would be similar to at least one of them. However, on day four, cup four showed us once again that these El Salvador coffees are truly unique and unpredictable. Finca El Rosario was vegetal and herby, Finca El Cashal was solidly fruity and nutty, Finca Las Nubes had more relaxed (but still impressive) flavor, and this, Finca San Jose, was a markedly fruity and lively cup of coffee. This liveliness was tripled when I prepared the coffee with my Aeropress – which, in the end, I think was my preferred method.
I just don’t know how much more different these coffees can get – we still have two left on our tour-by-proxy of El Salvador, and I’m running out of descriptors! El Salvador is proving itself to be a genuinely unique place from area to area – can’t wait to see what happens with my next cup.
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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.