It brings me great pleasure to start typing this because 2017 marks the seventh year that we're roasting coffee from Finca Argentina and its farmer, the always awesome Alejandro Martinez!
Alejandro and I have actually been working together since 2008, and in that time it's gone from a working relationship to Ale being one of my closest friends. He became involved in coffee in 2008 as he had just relocated to El Salvador from New York, where he'd been working as a city banker. With his first son on the way and the hustle and bustle of New York no place to bring up a family, the draw of home and El Salvador was just far too strong to ignore.
While looking for work in El Salvador, Ale decided to help his father with some of his business interests and investments. His father had inherited several coffee farms from his grandfather and was unsure what to do with them. One of the investments pricked Ale’s interest – a farm called Finca Argentina. The reason it really got Ale's attention was that he saw the farm had once yielded loads of coffee but was now producing a fraction of its old yield. His father gave him permission to see what could be done to make the farm successful again.
Ale found out the farm had been classified for a Q auction back in 2005. Thinking there may be a specialty buyer out there, he and his cousin (who lived in London) went about sending samples to coffee roasters anywhere they could. One of those samples arrived at Has Bean Towers, just like a lot of other samples do, but – unusually – I liked the coffee. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Since then Finca Argentina has gone from strength to strength, but not without bumps in the road. In 2013 the farm suffered the worst harvest on record, with only 70 bags harvested due to a massive issue with leaf rust. But with investment and hard work, the farmers have bought a neighbouring farm; the future is amazingly bright for Ale, his father, his family and Finca Argentina.
This coffee is 100% Bourbon, as 70% of plant stock in El Salvador is. This heirloom varietal is one of the reasons why coffee from this country is right up amongst some of the best in the world. They have the perfect climate and conditions for this low yielding, high maintenance strain.
The farm is based in the Apaneca-Ilamtepec mountain range, and is near the town of Turin in the Ahuachapán department. Sixteen people work on the farm during the non-picking season, maintaining and tending to the plants. This number of workers goes up to 50 people during the picking period. The altitude of the farm is 1,300 m.a.s.l. The coffee is a washed process coffee, and it's sun dried on patios.
In the cup this coffee is super moreish with buckets of milk chocolate and caramel being thrown around everywhere. There's also a sweet whoosh of orange and a green apple acidity.
- Country: El Salvador
- District: Ahuachapán
- Municipality: Ahuachapán
- Nearest city: Turin
- Farm: Finca Argentina
- Owner: Alejandro Martinez
- Altitude: 1,300 m.a.s.l.
- Varietal: Bourbon
- Processing method: Washed
- Drying method: Patios