Our friendship and partnership with farmer Aida Battle dates back to 2003, the year of her decisive win of the first Cup of Excellence competition in El Salvador. She sought us out, looking for information about coffee processing, and we discovered a shared love of exploring coffee's flavor potential through processing experimentation.
Through the last decade, we have worked together on modifying everything from fermentation times to drying the coffee in a completely different way. This year's coffee represents the culmination of years of experiments and the implementation of what we found to be the the best practices.
Explanation of the Name
Aida's family has created some interesting names for coffee farms. We have never heard of another Finca Kilimanjaro, Finca Mauritania, or Finca Tanzania. Many of names come from Aida's father, who loved mountains and Africa. Mauritania is a West African country bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Sahara Desert to the east, and Algeria to the north.
Santa Ana, El Salvador
Finca Mauritania is situated on the northeast slope of the Ilamatepec—Santa Ana volcano—just outside of Santa Ana. Driving in the quaint downtown area of Santa Ana, you wouldn't expect that it is the second-largest town in El Salvador after San Salvador. As you pass coffee farm after coffee farm just outside of the downtown area and numerous coffee processing facilities, it is not hard to imagine why Santa Ana is essentially considered the hub of coffee for the entire country.
This stems from a rich coffee tradition that started in the late 1800s. By the early 1900s, El Salvador and Santa Ana, in particular, were put on the map for innovating the technology for producing quality coffee. Since the middle of the 1900s, though, and especially in the 1980s because of terrible civil war, El Salvador's popularity in the coffee world has waned. The last two decades of stability have brought El Salvador and Santa Ana back to fame, and we believe many of the best coffees in Central America are being produced around this town.
This coffee is the product of a dedicated, passionate artisan of coffee farming: Aida Batlle. Coffee runs in Aida's blood; she is a fifth generation coffee producer. It was actually her great-great-grandfather who is credited with bringing the Bourbon variety—for which El Salvador is famous—to El Salvador. Aida has been managing the family's farms since 2003, when, in her first year as a full-time coffee farmer, her coffee won top prize at the inaugural El Salvador Cup of Excellence Competition.
We have never met a coffee farmer as passionate and dedicated to quality as Aida, and we have been amazed and gratified as, year after year, Aida pours her heart and soul into her harvest. Aida obsesses over the smallest details of coffee cultivation and harvesting: from pruning techniques, to finding just the perfect point to pick her coffees, to the exploration of difficult, taste-enhancing washing and drying techniques. We have seen Aida dive into a full tank of coffee cherries to retrieve a single unripe bean, so passionate is she about absolute coffee perfection.
Aida is recognized throughout the coffee world as a pioneer in great coffee flavor development, and so her coffee is sought after by roasters all over the world. We're so lucky that, based on our long relationship with Aida, we have special access to this wonderful coffee.
Elevation: 1,400 – 1,600 meters
Harvest Time: December 2014 – January 2015