A good friend of mine, Andy, recently sent me a package of bottled authentic NYC tap water (I had requested it from him because I’m hoping to bake some New York-style bagels and the only way to do that is with authentic NYC tap water… apparently). When he texted to let me know that it was on its way, he told me that he had slipped a couple surprises into it, including a bag of coffee that he had really been enjoying.

What a guy!

Welcome to the table. Today we’re cupping the El Salvador Montecarlos Gesha, from Passenger Coffee in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Feel free to pull up a chair.

In the mid-1980’s Carlos Batres was living in London representing El Salvador at the International Coffee Organization. During this time the coffee market was regulated by quotas in which a target price was set, and export quotas allocated to each producer.

When the indicator price set by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) fell below the target price, quotas were decreased (to check supply and demand); if it rose above it, quotas were increased (ditto). Although the system had its problems, it was successful in raising and stabilizing the price of coffee. The quota system temporarily broke down, due to the 1985 drought in Brazil, and Carlos went back to live in El Salvador representing Goldman Sachs and General Foods Maxwell House. During this time Carlos inherited
a farm in Apaneca, El Salvador.

While the Montecarlos story starts with Carlos Batres inheriting a farm, it was his vision of what the farm could be and his passion for coffee that have made Montecarlos what it is now. Carlos inherited the mill, which dates back to the 1870’s, and has been in the family for five generations. However, to create the Montecarlos of today took decades.

Year by year Carlos purchased land with the goal of owning the entire volcano upon which Montecarlos sits. Carlos and his partner Julie Batres now own the entire volcano which sits in a chain of volcanic cones, two of which have been active in the recent past.

Montecarlos primarily produces four varieties: Catuaí, Caturra, Bourbon, and Pacamara. 2018 was the first harvest of a fifth variety: Gesha. Carlos Batres obtained the seeds to his Gesha plants from none other than the famed Hacienda La Esmeralda.*


region: Apaneca, El Salvador
farm: Finca Montecarlos
producer: Carlos Batres
association: N/A
elevation: 1600 – 1800 meters above sea level
varietal: Gesha
process: fully washed


The aroma of the El Salvador Montecarlos Gesha is a soft, delicate, and fragrant bouquet of light florals, jasmine tea, stone fruit, and citrus.

This is a light-bodied coffee with a smooth, silky mouthfeel

jasmine tea florals, lime acidity, sparkling, dry finish, sparkling, tea-like

Big thanks to Andy for sharing this wonderful coffee with me!

NOTE: This post was originally published in June, but I am posting it again because THIS WONDERFUL COFFEE IS STILL AVAILABLE!

*content courtesy of Passenger Coffee


What were your thoughts of this one? Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome! Contact me, or enter a comment below.

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