Los Pirineos Farm is a very interesting case to study. It has been 8 years in a row in the top 10 of the Cup of Excellence, never has won the 1st place, but is always consistent with the quality of their production, and I personally think that that is much more important. Winning once can be a matter of luck. But every year to get a good consistent score is much more difficult. That is not luck. That is a scientific proven method of production for quality. Gilberto Baraona is the man behind the job. He has been working with Tim Wendelboe for about more than 10 years. They have improved year by year all the process from the fertilizing of the plants till the drying process. They have perfected year by year the entire operation of the farm.
The farm is located in the Volcano of Tecapa region. That region has produced the second highest puntuation in a COE in El Salvador. Specifically the COE held in 2006, with a punctuation of 94. The coffee was a Bourbon grown in the same volcano. In this area the soils are very rich in nutrients necessary to produce tasty coffee.
The variety that is grown in Los Pirineos is mainly the Heirloom Bourbon, called Bourbon Elite. It was imported in 1890 from Guatemala. This variety has been used in to develop the new Bourbon variety grown in El Salvador called Tekisik. The Bourbon Elite gives much more intense flavors of fruits and floral aromas compared to the new variety.
In the 80′s decade, a lot of farmes in El Salvador started to change their varieties grown to leaf rust resistant varieties. But because of the civil war held in El Salvador in that decade, the region of Usulután was a war zone, and it was dangerous and dificult to get into, so the farm was basically abandoned in that period. In the 90′s the war was over, and it was at the same time that the 3rd wave of specialty coffee boom happened. This new tendency of puntuating the coffees according to their taste, gave a total new perspective to the farmers when it came to decide which variety they would grow, specially in the highest parts of the farms, where the most tasty coffee is grown. So after cupping the current varieties at that time, which they were mostly Bourbon Elite, and realizing they produced a very high quality coffee, Gilberto decided to kept them and he focused all his efforts to produce only high quality coffees. For the same reason he decided to make all the drying process of the coffee at almost the same height that the coffee is grown (he has coffee from 1300 to 1550 m). The wet mill of Los Pirineos is located at 1300m, where the temperature is very chilled, so the coffee never suffers from the heat. Which is a problem the other farm has to deal with, drying the coffee at very low altitudes, where is very hot. Is always better a slower than a faster drying time. The mill has Jotagallo eco depulper machines and very clean patios for drying the coffees. It is the cleanest drying mill I have seen in El Salvador so far. His focus on quality in the whole process, from the picking till the drying and packing, is what gave us the certainty to work with him.
Because is a very rounded coffee, it can be used both for filter methods or espresso. The roasting applied for this coffee is a light roast for filter, and medium roast for espresso. In order to accentuate their intrinsic characteristics, and still maintain the natural flavor of the coffee, this profiles has been chosen. But overall is a light roast. The coffee is roasted every week in our roaster in Llinars del Vallès, a small town 30 minutes away from Barcelona, to keep our serving the freshest possible.
Here is the technical description of the coffee:
Finca Los Pirineos
Origen: Volcán de Tecapa-Chinameca, Usulután, El Salvador.
Producer: Gilberto Baraona
Variety: Bourbon Elite
Height: 1350-1400 masl
Dry process: Fully washed dried in patios
Taste: dark chocolate, berry like acidity, sugar cane, well balanced.