El Salvador: San Jose, Bourbon

Finca San José

  • Flavour profile Melted milk chocolate, marshmallow, cherry, raspberry jam
  • Process Washed
  • Varietal Bourbon
  • Roast Medium Dark


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  • San Jose is Gloria’s favourite of her farms. Until very recently, all the plants there were planted by her father – it’s productivity has been dropping off as the plants get older so she’s starting to replant now, but she’s also sad to have to remove those coffee trees her father planted. So far, about a third of the plants are new, whilst two thirds are around 60 years old. San Jose was originally bought by Gloria’s grandfather, at which time it was a big farm. It was split between Gloria’s father and three of his brothers, but he bought back land from one of them and recombined it into the San Jose we know today – it’s still pretty small by El Salvador standards at around 10 hectares.

    One of the interesting things about Gloria’s farms is that her team, run by the foreman Tonio, still use a lot of traditional techniques and systems from El Salvador. One unique example of this you can see in my photo from her Nejapa farm. The techniques are called “agobio” and “agobio de raíz”. The English for Agobio is burden and refers to how a coffee tree bends when it’s branches are ladened with fruit. Agobio involves bending a young coffee plant at it’s base and running it horizontal. Upright branches are grown off this, which have their own branches. This effectively allows one seedling to provide four or more coffee plants with a shared root. Agobio de raíz is even more complicated, as it involves bending the young plant at the root and growing the uprights out of the soil. These traditional techniques are super interesting, but largely forgotten about in newer farms which have taken a more modern, standardised approach and it’s a pleasure to see traditional Salvadorean methods kept alive.

    Melted milk chocolate meets silky marshmallow and a biscuity sweetness, as well as cherry and raspberry jam as it cools. This coffee brews a beautifully sweet, creamy and chocolatey cup which reminds us of Wagon Wheels.

    • Country: El Salvador
    • Department: Ahuachapán
    • Municipality: Apaneca
    • Nearest city: El Saitillal
    • Farm: Finca San José
    • Owner: Gloria Rodriguez
    • Farm manager: Antonio Avelino
    • Processing method: Washed
    • Varietal: Red Bourbon
    • Altitude: 1,500 m.a.s.l.
    • Average annual rainfall: 2,500mm
    • Average temperature: 17ºC
    • Type of soil: Clay loam
    • Type of shade: Pepeto, inga sp, and other native trees
    • Typical native fauna: Armadillo, gray fox, agouti, pocket gopher, magpie, turquoise-browed motmot
  • Tasting notes: Melted milk chocolate, marshmallow, cherry, raspberry jam.

    Cup of Excellence Cupping Scores

    • Clean cup: (1–8): 6
    • Sweetness: (1–8): 7
    • Acidity: (1–8): 6
    • Mouthfeel: (1–8): 6.5
    • Flavour: (1–8): 6.5
    • Aftertaste: (1–8): 6
    • Balance: (1–8): 6.5
    • Overall: (1–8): 7
    • Correction: (+36): +36
    • Total: (max. 100): 88

    Roast Information
    Medium dark - push this through the gap and up to the edge of second crack, but keep it light enough to showcase the intense jammy sweetness.

  • If you place an order before 07:30, it will be roasted and dispatched that day. If you order after 07:30, it will carry over to the following working day for roasting.

    We offer free UK mainland delivery on all orders over £50.00. One 250g bag sent with First Class postage will cost £3.50, and one 250g bag sent with Second Class postage will cost £2.00. DPD next working day delivery is available for a flat rate of £7.00 for all orders up to 10kg.

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    For more information about delivery, please visit our Help Centre.

Finca San José

The San Jose farm was acquired in November 2003. At the time it was completely abandoned, and due to its inaccessibility it's been a work in progress for many years. It's up in the chain of mountains that marks the border of Jinotega and surrounds the skirts of Apanas Lake, to 1,300-1,400 meters of altitude.

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San José Farm Manager Antonio 'Tonio' Avelino and Gloria Rodriguez with their coffee in Ahuachapán, El Salvador

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