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Wide Open Road Coffee Roasters
CHOCOLATE, ORANGE MARMALADE + MACERATED STRAWBERRIES
Origin: El Salvador
Washing Station: Beneficio Los Cerritos
Importer: First Crop Coffee
We’re pleased to welcome this coffee back to our menu just as we have many times before – first roasting it in 2014. Nestled in the Ahuachapan region of El Salvador, home to the Ilamatepec volcano, the Himalaya producers have been through extremely hard times over the years, which is just one of the reasons this coffee is a great example of the benefits of long-term relationships between producers, importers and roasters.
Sonia Castaneda is the owner of Himalaya farms, whose family has been producing coffee in El Salvador for over 150 years. Sonia insists on growing only 100% Bourbon varietals, despite being highly susceptible to leaf rust – a fungus that attacks the leaves of the plant. In 2015, Sonia's farms were hit hard by leaf rust, which wiped out a devastating amount of trees and destroyed both the 2016 and 2017 harvests. She was then at risk of losing her farm due to an aggressive insect plague and mass flooding.
With over 30 full time workers across the 5 farms and no foreseeable income for the next two years, there was a lot of anticipation for the success of the 2018 harvest. Although only a small yield, this began the recovery for the Himalaya estate. First Crop purchased the entire Himalaya harvest and paid a $2/kg premium to assist in relieving their financial pressures. Since then, the farm has been able to produce a steady harvest. The COVID pandemic had the viability of the 2020 harvest looking bleak, however after some mere shipping delays, Himalaya has returned to us again and we can finally roast what we believe is their best coffee yet.
Historically, her farm has only produced washed coffees, but last year saw Sonia’s first ever attempt at a natural process. After consulting with First Crop, both parties deduced that embracing natural processing would create more interest amongst consumers than a typical clean washed process, and hopefully generate the demand and higher price Sonia needed to sustain her business. Having tasted Sonia's first natural harvest, we know she truly is, well, a natural. Each cup clearly illustrates that her understanding of natural processes has only improved. Sonia has fine tuned her processing skills, creating a beautifully balanced coffee that flourishes fermented characteristics without jeopardising its clarity and cleanliness.
SINGLE ORIGIN ESPRESSO - El Salvador, Himalaya