Located near the capital of San Salvador, the Monte Verde farm has been involved in coffee farming for five generations. The Alvarez family have been growing coffee in El Salvador for over 100 years. Their award-winning farms are located on the lush green hills of Santa Ana, in the west of the country, where rich volcanic soils and mild climate provide ideal conditions for growing coffee.
This coffee has limited availability each year and this crop is the first to be exported in the specialty coffee market, something that could be very beneficial to putting the farm on the map and providing higher income to help them continue to grow the success of not only the farm, but of the community as a whole.
The Alvarez family offers considerable support to local communities, with schools for children aged from 5 to 15 years and health clinics provided free on their farms. The family is also committed to developing sustainable practices in order to protect and preserve the natural environment. All of their coffee is grown under a canopy of shade trees, which enrich and conserve the soil and provide an important habitat for birds and other wildlife. The farm also doubles as a sanctuary for stray and neglected animals.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the El Salvador Monte Verde, from PERC Coffee in Savannah, Georgia. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: Santa Ana, El Salvador
farm: Finca Monte Verde
producer: Alvarez Family
elevation: 1150 – 1400 meters above sea level
cultivars: Red Bourbon, Yellow Bourbon
process: fully washed, patio dried
Hm, so the aroma of this El Salvador Monte Verde isn’t what I was expecting. In my experience, El Salvadoran coffees are mellow and sweet; fruity, but subdued. This particular El Salvadoran coffee is on the savory and herbal side of the spectrum, smelling more like a Sumatran than a Central American offering. Scents of green pepper, roasted nuts, tobacco, and citrus.
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, the flavor follows the nose. There are some fruit and sugar elements in its profile, but overall, this is a vegetal, herbal, spicy cup of coffee. Mild earthiness, mixed with nuances of vanilla, coats the tongue while flavors of green pepper, tobacco, hazelnut, cinnamon, anise, and clove. As I mentioned, there is a bit fruit in the cup, which shows itself in the flavor and acidity of a navel orange. Each sip concludes with a dry, astringent finish.
Medium body; silky mouthfeel; citric acidity; dry finish.
This was a really tough coffee for me. I dialed it in several different ways, but didn’t get the results I was expecting. Being an El Salvadoran coffee, I was expecting the cup to be mildly sweet and fruity; being a PERC Coffee offering, I was expecting it to be roasted to perfection.
Instead, PERC’s El Salvador Monte Verde was a cup of astringent herbs and earthiness. To be fair, there is some mildly citric sweetness as the cup cools but it’s so mild compared to everything else going on in the cup.
Overall, it was a relatively disappointing experience. Not terrible, but definitely not as good as it could have been.
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.