Jack Kelly (Owner) and Dismas Smith (Head Roaster) share experiences from El Salvador, as they visit coffee farms in Central America. They offer their journal daily so we can share the stories of the coffees you find at Caffe Ladro.

El Salvador 2016

2/20/16–Day 3

Our travel from Nicaragua to El Salvador was less than efficient! We arrived in San Salvador at 1:30 pm, customs took an hour, but our friend traveling with us was delayed until 4:00 pm. After a two hour drive, we finally arrived at Beneficio Cuatro M. Emilio Lopez is the owner of this exceptional mill, and handles all our Talnamica and Natamaya coffees. We needed to cup 15 coffees before dinner, so we went straight to the lab. After an hour-and-a-half we selected all Talnamica lots. This is very unusual as Natamaya is 200 meters higher. The previous year we only bought the Natamaya! We are happy again this year as the coffee was cupping solid 85.5.

Cuatro M drying beds in El Salvador from Caffe Ladro Ladro Roasting coffee buying trip

We strolled around the mill for an hour, and viewed the advancements Emilio has been making! He never rests on his process or equipment. We ate a late dinner and wash it down with Flor de Cana over hielo.

 

El Salvador 2016

2/21/16–Day 4

Roberto and Rodrigo Dumont of Malacara B pick us up at 9:00 am and we head to another mill–El Bourbollon to cup their coffees. We cupped coffees from two different farms. I’m disappointed in the quality, and it showed on my face. The Dumonts work very hard all year, and I hate it when the coffee doesn’t show well. I give them honest feedback, and they thank me for my frankness. I bought just one micro-lot of Orange Bourbon. Eduardo Jr. gave us a mill tour and we were happy to see his youthful excitement about his family’s Beneficio.

Coffee drying beds in front of Bourbollon Mill in El Salvador 2016 from Caffe Ladro and Ladro Roasting coffee buying trip Coffee Sorters at Bourbollon Coffee Mill in El Salvador 2016 from Caffe Ladro and Ladro Roasting coffee buying trip

At 12:30pm  we are picked up by our close friends, Nena and Herman Mendez, owners and operators of Talnamica and Natamaya. We drive to the Talnamica home. This is always our favorite place–so charming. Tita is there to greet us. We’re grateful to see her because she was ill during our last visit.

Lunch with Herman and Nena Mendez of Finca Talnamica and Finca Natamaya in El Salvador 2016 from Caffe Ladro and Ladro Roasting coffee buying tripNena Mendez and Jack Kelly of Caffe Ladro and Ladro Roasting in El Salvador 2016 for Coffee Buying

 

The harvest is in full swing, and when we arrived we watched the pickers bringing in their cherry to be sorted and weighed. The strength of all the workers is humbling.

El Salvador 2016 Coffee Pickers weighing bags of coffee cherry during harvest seen on Caffe Ladro and Ladro Roasting Coffee Buying trip El Salvador 2016 Coffee Pickers bagging cherry during harvest seen on Caffe Ladro and Ladro Roasting Coffee Buying trip El Salvador 2016 Coffee Pickers bagging cherry during harvest seen on Caffe Ladro and Ladro Roasting Coffee Buying trip The entire community participates in the coffee harvest at Finca Talnamica and Finca Natamaya in El Salvador 2016 seen on Caffe Ladro and Ladro Roasting coffee buying trip

It’s a fun environment with children playing and families everywhere. We ate a nice dinner. Dr. Herman Mendez is brilliant and an amazing conversationalist. With the air a cool 58 degrees, like usual here, we slept very well.

View of Valley from Finca Natamaya in El Salvador 2016 as seen by Caffe Ladro and Ladro Roasting coffee buying team