It’s been a while since we last roamed the mountains of El Salvador.
That’s mostly because, well—I get it. El Salvadoran coffees are never particularly exciting or dazzling. Furthermore, they don’t seem to stray very far from what I consider their baseline flavor profile: balanced, sweet, medium-bodied, clean.
Don’t get me wrong—I like El Salvadoran coffees just as much as the next coffee reviewer. I just don’t jump at the opportunity to review them.
I have noticed a trend, though: slowly but surely, year after year and cup after cup, I find myself enjoying coffees from this region more and more. I’ve come to consider them almost the standard-bearer for Central American coffees—you like fruitiness?, it’s got that; you like nuttiness?, it’s got that; you like cleanliness, balance, and soft finishes?, it’s got all of that too.
Today, we’re going to see if that statement holds up…
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe where we are sipping a cup of El Salvador Finca La Fany, from Metropolis Coffee Company in Chicago, Illinois. Feel free to pull up a chair.
Finca La Fany is a family-run farm that has been producing coffee since 1870, and has been passed from generation to generation. Luis Silva, the current owner of La Fany, fell in love with this property when his aunt owned it. He and his brother Rafael, a keen agronomist, bought the land together a decade ago.
Today, the farm comprises a total of 27 hectares, all of which are planted with 100% Bourbon variety coffees. All the coffee is handpicked, and the farm provides work for 24 families in the community.
The farm is part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor System, which stretches all the way from Mexico down to Panama. When this network of ‘protected highways’ enters El Salvador, it passes through the shade-grown coffee regions, which act as a substitute forest. For this reason, coffee farms in the area play a vital role as a sanctuary for most of the 520 migratory and native bird species found in this part of the world.
The farm is located in the Apaneca region, which translates to “River of Winds”—the winds in the are are very strong, so very tall Copalchi trees have been planted in a grid to protect the coffee trees from the gusts. The cover also acts as a sanctuary for birds migrating between North and South America.
Recently, the Silva’s installed a wet mill on their property (this is very unusual in El Salvador; typically most farms have their coffee cherries processed by a third party). The new mill means the Silvas can now separate their coffee by picking date, variety, and area of the farm. It also gives them greater quality control throughout the process—from harvest to export.
Finca La Fany will soon have a cupping room on-site, as well as a small sample roaster. There are also plans in the works to experiment with raised African beds and covered patio areas for drying coffee. All very exciting developments!
origin: Apaneca, Llamatepec
farm: Finca La Fany
elevation: 1450 meters above sea level
cultivars: Red Bourbon
process: fully washed, patio dried
The dry aroma coming out of the bag is exceptional, with strong scents of peanut butter, raspberry, licorice, and cherry blossoms. Coming out of the cup, those scents morph a little bit; now I’m picking up notes of hazelnut, cherry, and red apple.
Up front, the flavor of the Finca La Fany is delightfully sweet. It has a buttery, creamy, chocolate base that slip-slides over the palate, which is then followed by a steady stream of juicy fruit and cane sugar. I’m picking up tastes of cherries, red apple, raspberry, and citrus.
As the cup cools off, these flavors don’t change as much as they do intensify while other elements come into play. That red apple tastes much crisper, that cherry is more juicy and delicious, that cane sugar is sweeter, that chocolaty bed gets a little darker, and the citrus fleshes out into a really great, well-rounded acidity that is soft and subtle, but perfectly complementary to the overall flavor.
What I’m enjoying most, though, surprisingly, is the finish. Each sip while the cup is cooled off finishes off with a honey sweetness, vanilla creaminess, and a smack of candied roasted almonds.
Medium body; smooth body; soft orange acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
El Salvador Finca La Fany, from Metropolis Coffee Company, is a really fine cup of coffee. A very solid offering from a region that my palate has always considered kinda sorta… “Meh.” Like I’ve said a million billion times, I like El Salvadoran coffees just fine—they don’t dazzle or wow me, but they’re typically pretty tasty cups (albeit blasé).
This El Salvadoran rises a little above the “meh” level and touches down somewhere between “Hmmm” and “Mmmm.” It’s a bright, clean cup that has a well-rounded body and smooth, fruity flavors that do not disappoint.
If you’re looking for a delicious “any time of day” coffee, look no further.
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