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
We’re up early and make coffee for Nena and Hermann. After and nice breakfast, we walk through Talnamica. Always a flourishing farm, we are pleased with the health and productivity again this year. Through constant vigilance the Mendez-Ortiz family have successfully defended their farm against the “Roya”. This red fungus has caused massive destruction throughout Central America and has been particularly devastating in El Salvador. This country’s overall production will be under 450,000 bags this year which is down from 2,000,000 bags just a few years ago. You only have to look to the hillsides to see farm after farm of total loss. It is a relief to see the success of Talnamica!
About 10 am we jump in the truck, and head for Natamaya and Canton Ojo de Agua. This small village dates back over 250 years, has 46 families, and about 30 children. This is the farm and town that, through bean sales, we have donated almost $6,000. Our donations built a soccer field and put a fence around it and the school.
When we arrive we pass out toothpaste, tooth brushes and of course some candy for the kids. We meet with Renee, the township leader for 12 years. We discuss the soccer field and he assures us the kids love the addition and use it every day! We are thrilled with this news and YOU should be too! Renee tells us about the two power polls which arrived this year. Gradually, the power will be brought to homes. We discuss school’s needs, and talk about how the money can be most effective. Renee asks for computers for the school, and we agree that could be very exciting. He will investigate the costs and report back to us. I can’t explain how grateful they are. Finally, we have a nice game of soccer with the kids.
After goodbyes we make off for Finca Natamaya. Hermann is excited to show us the new varietals he has been planting. Pacamara, Orange Bourbon, SL-28 and Geisha. Natamaya has very high elevation for El Salvador, which makes these boutique varietals more viable. Many of the better farmers have moved away from the usual varietals, looking for different flavor profiles, and resistance to the roya and other diseases. We are excited to try these new coffees in the coming years. After a long walk we get back in the car to drive to Talnamica. When we get home it’s quite cool and Tita has cooked us an unbelievable steak dinner. Exhausted, we sleep like babies.
After breakfast and Aeropresses? We have another long walk through Talnamica with farm manager, Michael Angel, and learn about the new pruning techniques and organic fertilizers he is using this year.
At 10 am Roberto and Rodrigo Dumont from Malacara B pick us up. They drive us to their lake home for lunch and a swim. What a treat. After some discussion about contracts, we get going. After a long drive toward the airport, we arrive at our hotel about 7 pm. We have a quick dinner and beers because we need to be up at 4 am for travel to Costa Rica.