Our tasting notes: Caramel, apple, maple syrup
Los Nogales is a medium roasted, beautifully balanced coffee with great sweetness.
Los Nogales is one of four farms owned and operated by JASAL, a family business with more than 100 years of experience in cultivating, processing and exporting the finest coffees in El Salvador. Thefarms are concentrated in one of the best regions in El Salvador for coffee cultivation: the Apaneca-Ilamatepec region. This volcanic range runs through the Ahuachapán, Santa Ana, and Sonsonate departments in the west of El Salvador, and is where many of the Cup of Excellence producing farms in the country are located.
Run by the Salaverría family, with ownership of the farms split between brothers, mothers, and grandparents, they believe success comes from taking a long-term view; through respect, loyalty and appreciation of consistent and excellent quality. Their head cupper, Raul, has been at JASAL for 28 years and is very familiar with the terroir and what profiles the area can yield.
In Central America, El Salvador has the nickname ‘Pulgarcito’, which means ‘little thumb’ – a reference to the diminutive size of this coffee producing nation. But packed into this little country there are some of the best farms in the whole of Latin America, and many of the coffees El Salvador produces are capable of scoring very highly on the cupping table.
More than half of the nation’s coffee is Bourbon, so there is plenty of sweetness, complexity and high acidity coffee being produced. Around 90% of the country’s coffee is also shade grown, which maintains the rich biodiversity that thrives in rural El Salvador. Micro-lots are now a common feature, and it benefits from being a nation where traceability to farm level encourages speciality buyers.
This is a land of volcanoes, many of them active, so the soil is rich and fertile whilst the views are strikingly beautiful and always dramatic. Volcano Santa Ana is the largest but Izalco, with its typical conical shape, is a national icon. Such conditions are perfect for the production of high quality coffee.
Coffee has been produced commercially in El Salvador since the 1850s and by 1880 the country was the fourth largest producer of coffee in the World. These days El Salvador produces far less coffee, but the country does have an unusually high proportion of heirloom Bourbon trees, these flourish in the well-drained and mineral-rich volcanic soils that have the potential to produce incredibly sweet coffees. Around 90% of of the country’s coffee is shade grown, which maintains the rich biodiversity that thrives in rural El Salvador.
We were particularly drawn to the Apaneca Mountain range in the west of the country, as the coffees here have such good character.