El Salvador - What a fun, fruitful and crazy three days with Lucia Ortiz and friends in El Salvador. After arrival and unpacking as a guest of Lucia in her home, we headed to the Consejo to visit and cup. The new offices are smaller but the location allows for a new building in the near future. After Lunch with Lucia’s husband Roberto, we were off to the mill for cupping of all this year’s Lotes [ or micro lots ] from Las Mercedes. Besides 1st place COE Pepinal 1 and last year’s COE #6 Avila, we enjoyed El Ruby [ my top scoring and sweetest cup of all ], Pepinal 2 [ a micro lot next to Pepinal 1 ], a Pacamara, plus an experimental honey processed lot and others. All were great and will only get better with more rest before shipping to Klatch next month.
After cupping we returned to Grand Via shopping mall to watch the El Salvador Barista Championships. As expected, the baristi were fantastic. For those who don’t remember, Flora of Viva Espresso finished 9th in the world last year in Atlanta. The competition was held in the center of the mall with views not only from 2 large screens, but the 2nd floor balcony. What a great place for a championship. Not only did I get to watch the competition, but I ran into many friends. Following the days competition we headed for dinner and visited the new Viva Espresso, a beautiful two story location below their World Trade Center and next to the reflection pool. And all this was only day one.
The next two days were just as filled but let me mention a few highlights including donating money raised for Storm relief. We actually donated $2 for every bag of Las Mercedes sold during the month of December. I was able to visit Marlon Manzano, General Manager of Un techo para mi Pais, and present him with the check for $300.00. This organization is building houses and helping people in 15 countries become self supporting and sustainable. It’s a great program you can see more about with this VIDEO. Another highlight was the announcement of winners at the Barista Championship. The top three were all from Viva Espresso and the winner was Alejandro. This was special as Heather provided training for them during her visit in December. The Champion, Alejandro, also used an espresso blend featuring a Bourbon from Lucia Ortiz of Las Mercedes [ coffee we carry ] and a Pacamara from our friend Sergio Ticas. Congrats to Fredrico and Lily [ owners of Viva Espresso ], and most of all to Alejandro. And all this does not even include the story of a Birthday party I was able to attend where I met and talked to an ex President and Vice President among the many present, but let’s save that story for another blog.
Enjoy this year’s great coffee from El Salvador!