Episode 677

El Salvador Finca San José Washed Red Bourbon

Finca San José is very much the pride and joy of the Rodríguez family, and it's now in the hands of a fourth and fifth generation of coffee producers. The story begins in 1815 when José María Rodriguez and Josefina Rodriguez (great-grandparents) planted the first coffee trees with their own hands.

Through the generations, the farm has passed through the hands of many committed farmers; farmers like José's son, Israel Rodriguez. He was then followed by Jose Maria Rodriguez. Jose Maria took care of the farm until it came to Gloria Mercedes Rodriguez Fontán. Gloria is the most recent owner.

Ever the strong woman, Gloria has overcome gender barriers in an industry that has historically been the province of men, and she personally supervises every step at the farm level. Gloria not only takes care of San José but, together with her siblings' support, she manages five other small farms that collectively add up to thirty-eight hectares.

The mountain slopes of Finca San José are fully shaded by trees that help to maintain and preserve the crop and the surrounding environment. In addition to the trees' diversity, the farm is home to a variety of wild animals and birds, which can be seen in their natural habitat. San José is nested in the northwestern slope of an extinct volcanic crater, which holds a small lagoon inside it. The lagoon is named Nymph Lagoon, due to the abundance of water lilies.

Coffee at Finca San José goes through extensive quality control. It's also grown under standards that support specialty coffee production. The unique microclimate conditions include an average altitude of 1,500 metres above sea level, an average temperature of 17°C, and rich and loamy clay soil; and the coffee grown is mainly Red Bourbon.

Cherry Cola does coffee! There're layers of caramel in the cup along with sweet cherry and a delicate sweet spice edge. The body is silky smooth too, which helps make this one of the most balanced cups of coffee out there.

  • Country: El Salvador
  • Department: Ahuachapán
  • Municipality: Apaneca
  • Nearest city: El Saitillal
  • Farm: Finca San José
  • Owner Gloria Mercedes Rodriguez Fontán
  • Farm manager: Antonio Avelino
  • Processing method: Washed
  • Varietal: Red Bourbon
  • Altitude: 1,500 m.a.s.l.
  • Average annual rainfall: 2,500mm
  • Average temperature: 17ºC
  • Type of soil: Clay loam
  • Type of shade: Pepeto, inga sp, and other native trees
  • Typical native fauna: Armadillo, gray fox, agouti, pocket gopher, magpie, turquoise-browed motmot


Cherry, cola, caramel, sweet spice

  • Clean cup: (1–8): 6
  • Sweetness: (1–8): 7
  • Acidity: (1–8): 6.5
  • Mouthfeel: (1–8): 6
  • Flavour: (1–8): 6.5
  • Aftertaste: (1–8): 6
  • Balance: (1–8): 8
  • Overall: (1–8): 6.5
  • Correction: (+36): +36
  • Total: (max. 100): 88.5

Roasting Information
Medium-dark - through first, keeping a medium pace through the gap and right up to the edge of second before you finish the roast.

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