El Salvador: San Jose, Elefante, Natural [125g]

Finca San José

  • Flavour profile Blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, spice, brown sugar
  • Process Natural
  • Varietal Elefante
  • Roast Medium


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  • *Please note this coffee is part of our Special Reserve range and sold in 125g bags, not 220g*

    Finca San José's story began in 1815, when José María Rodriguez and Josefina Rodriguez (great-grandparents) planted the first coffee trees with their own hands. The farm has passed through the generations of many committed farmers like José's son Israel Rodriguez. He was then followed by Jose Maria Rodriguez, who took care of the farm until it came to Gloria. Ever the strong woman, Gloria has overcome gender barriers in an industry that has historically been the province of men and personally supervises every step at farm level in close association with the farm manager Antonio 'Tonio' Avelino.

    As well as Finca San José, Gloria also owns Finca Nejapa, Finca Nueva Granada, and her own farm which she has owned for 41 years, Finca Lagunita. There's also the recent addition a couple of years ago of Finca Mamatita, which was an abandoned farm next door to San José that was just too good a deal to turn down.

    The mountain slopes of Finca San José are fully shaded by trees that help to maintain and preserve the crop and the surrounding environment. In addition to the trees' diversity, the farm is home to a variety of wild animals and birds, which can be seen in their natural habitat. Ever heard of a pocket gopher? Nope, neither had we! And they live happily on the farm! San José is nested in the northwestern slope of an extinct volcanic crater, which holds a small lagoon inside it. The lagoon is named Nymph Lagoon, due to the abundance of water lilies.

    Although Gloria runs a few farms in the department of Ahuachapán, San José is her favourite. Until very recently, all the plants there were planted by her father – its 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 many years ago. So far, about a third of the plants are new, whilst two-thirds are around 60 years old.

    This very small lot resulted from a very lucky varietal observation by Gloria’s son-in-law, Luis Rodriguez. It's worth saying here that Luis is a true expert on coffee and processing. As well as being involved in growing coffee, he also works in QC and this year has headed up National Juries for Cup of Excellence.

    Some years ago now, at Finca San José, while walking around the farm checking for ripeness, Luis ended up in front of a huge cluster of cherries which grabbed his attention. He realized that this, right here, was a very interesting tree. With the help of Gloria, Maria Jose and Antonio, he harvested roughly twelve kilos of cherries that they called 'Bourbon on steroids', which were then hand-processed by Antonio.

    Everything about this plant phenotype fascinated him and he concluded this was something to definitely follow up on. One of the most interesting features he noticed was the amount of mucilage inside each cherry, which was just over twice as much as in other varieties found at the farm.

    After a few weeks, Antonio had a sample processed and ready enough to cup. After a small cupping performed at their house, Luis fell in love with the amazing fruit character and sweetness behind this puzzling varietal.

    Due to the size of the coffee cherries, they decided to name this variety Elefante! But despite the big cherries, the beans themselves are very similar in size to the Bourbon which is planted on the rest of the farm. So just to be clear, don't expect big beans just because this coffee is called Elefante, they're normal size, but the cherries when they're on the trees are massive!

    This funky mashup of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries has a tiny hint of spice and brown sugar on the aftertaste, for a deep and complex coffee.

    • Country: El Salvador
    • Department: Ahuachapán
    • Municipality: Apaneca
    • Nearest city: El Saitillal
    • Farm: Finca San José
    • Owner: Gloria Rodriguez
    • Farm manager: Antonio Avelino
    • Processing method: Natural
    • Varietal: Elefante
    • 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: Blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, spice, brown sugar.

    Cup of Excellence Cupping Scores

    • Clean cup: (1–8): 6
    • Sweetness: (1–8): 6.5
    • Acidity: (1–8): 6
    • Mouthfeel: (1–8): 6.5
    • Flavour: (1–8): 7.5
    • Aftertaste: (1–8): 6.5
    • Balance: (1–8): 6
    • Overall: (1–8): 7
    • Correction: (+36): +36
    • Total: (max. 100): 88

    Roast Information
    Medium - this coffee needs to go through first crack and up to the edge of second to really lett the funk shine alongside the juicy berries.

  • This coffee is sold in 125g bags, not our regular 220g bags.

    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 bag sent with First Class postage will cost £3.50, and one bag sent with Second Class postage will cost £2.00. DPD next working day delivery is available for a flat rate of £6.00 for all orders up to 10kg.

    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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