THE STORY BEHIND EL MOLINO
El Molino and the Salaverria family are near and dear to Irving Farm because Dan Streetman visited this farm on his very first trip to origin as our Green Coffee Buyer in 2011 (and his photograph of El Molino’s sister coffee, Guadalupe, has been turned into a gorgeous black-and-white mural at our 79th Street cafe). This is a full-bodied natural coffee with warm acidity and beautiful berry aromatics, and we’re proud to say that it’s an Irving Farm exclusive!
The Salaverrias have been producing exceptional coffees in the western part of El Salvador—quite close to Guatemala and the Pacific Ocean—for almost a century, and they were at the forefront of natural processing techniques in Central America, a refined expertise you can taste in each cup of El Molino. The ripe coffee cherry is hand-picked and then transferred directly to patios where it’s dried au naturel, fully encased in its fruit. It’s then processed at Beneficio Las Cruces, one of the most modern facilities in El Salvador, where it’s sorted no fewer than three times to remove any defects.
Jose Antonio Jr. and his brother Andres inherited the farm from their father, Jose Antonio Sr., who officially retired in 2011. Since then, they’ve been growing the business while implementing progressive initiatives, such as converting their plants to the agobio parras method by which trees are cultivated to bend and grow horizontally. This develops stronger root systems, which helps to make them more resistant to roya (coffee leaf rust), and also makes the tall Bourbon trees able to survive the heavy winds that are prevalent in this region. They also started a project where they planted eight different coffee varieties (SL-28, Geisha, Pink Bourbon, Yellow Caturra, Batian, SL-32, Castillo, and a few Catimor types) on the same farm to chart variations in growth, quantity and quality. This research will help them to determine the best variety to grow on each plot of each farm in the future.
The Salaverrias run an impressive operation, and one evening, after a long day walking the farm, Dan witnessed the arrival and unloading of five trucks carrying freshly picked cherry, totalling 180,000 pounds—the equivalent of all the Guadalupe that Irving Farm roasts in an entire year! It was astonishing to witness the efficiency of the workers in relation to the sheer quantity of coffee, and you’ll be sure to taste this care and quality in the cup.