We’re winding down our run of reviews dedicated to Velton’s Coffee, and I’m pretty excited about the coffee that I’ve saved for last. After all, you’re supposed to save the best for last, no?
This coffee is an El Salvadoran selection from the famous Santa Ana region that has even been recognized by the Cup of Excellence program. These beans have been shipped the world over and have garnered rave reviews in the hands of other roasters.
Velton Ross, I know, is a completely capable roastmaster that, in my past experiences, has done well to bring out a bean’s truest flavors so I’m eager to see what he’s done with a coffee of such international renown and reputation.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of El Salvador Finca El Retiro, from Velton’s Coffee Roasting Company in Everett, Washington. Feel free to pull up a chair.
This farm was acquired in 1927 by the Pacas family. Nowadays is in the hands of a 4th generation of coffee growers (the farm was a finalist at the Cup of Excellence in 2006) who believe that winning COE is due to the dedication of everyone involved in carrying out every cultural practices in the farm throughout this year.
Their farm is certified with ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 9001-2000 allowing them to keep traceability, control points and perform effective actions in order to improve quality.
These farmers employ 24 people permanently and 105 during picking season. They also provide medical care for their workers.
Furthermore, all of the coffee is shade grown, with Balsam and Ingas trees providing most of the coverage. The shade coverage is critical in ensuring the trees are protected from the suns harsh direct rays. This mixed vegetation is also the perfect home for many different types of animals such as squirrels, armadillos, and quails.
Coffee is harvested on the estate during the months of November through to February. After resting and shipping it usually lands in Australia around July or August.
origin: Santa Ana, El Salvador
farm: Finca El Retiro
producer: The Pacas Family
elevation: 1400 meters above sea level
cultivars: Red Bourbon
process: fully washed, patio dried
The aroma coming off the El Salvador Finca El Retiro is sweet and fragrant; fruity, confectious, and floral. I’m getting notes of salty peanut butter, rose hips, apple, cherry blossom, and strawberry jam.
Mmmm… Taking my first sip, immediately post-brew, and this is already a really tasty cup (and I can already tell that it would be amazing over ice—I’ll definitely be cold brewing it today). This is a light-bodied coffee that tastes very red with a silky rose petal mouthfeel (and taste) and flavor notes of macintosh apples up front, cane sugar, caramel, and almond in the finish.
As it cools off more and more fruits come to the forefront; it gets a little juicy, somewhat tart, and even a bit livelier. Concord grape, peach, pear, raspberry, cherry, and blackberry, but my favorite part of the cup at this stage in its life is the pineapple and lemon flavors. They’re very subdued flavors and I can only taste very faint hints of them, but boy do they do my palate good.
Light body; silky mouthfeel; malic acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
The old adage, “save the best for last,” turned out to be true. Of the three coffees that Seattle Coffee Gear & Velton’s Coffee Roasting Company sent me to review, the El Salvador Finca El Retiro was certainly the best. Now, don’t hear me the wrong way, this wasn’t a coffee that I was absolutely ga-ga over and it isn’t the best El Salvadoran coffee I’ve ever had in my life; however, it is very flavorful, it is very delicious, and anyone would be lucky to have this coffee in their cup any given morning.
Furthermore, as I mentioned, it is even more delicious over ice. That tartness really comes through, particularly when it’s cold-brewed, and it’s totally refreshing on hot Summer days.
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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.