About the coffee
Flavour profile: The washed process version of this coffee gives us a clean yet round cup with notes of apple cider and nougat. An aftertaste of red apple.
Colour: Rust red
Producer: Rafael and Carmen Silva Hoff with family
Farm: San Cayetano
Varietal: Red Bourbon
Harvested:February to March 2019
Region: Ahuachapán, Santa Ana
Process station: San Pedro owned by Rafael and Carmen Silva Hoff's
Process: Washed processed. The coffee is depulped the same day as harvest, soaked and dried on raised beds in three different levels to control the drying. The beans are turned over by hand continuously every day. For the washed process, the water the reservoir is used. Staff onsite also only turn the coffee by hand, log the moisture at different stages of the drying process, and have access to a great cupping lab with a well-trained crew in taste and routines.
Elevation: 1600 meters above sea level
Roast: Light to medium to present the natural characteristics of the coffee.
A Red Bourbon from El Salvador associates with sweet milk chocolate and red apple flavours to us and so does this coffee! It is produced by our long-time friends Rafael and Carmen Silva Hoff, based in the Santa Ana region in El Salvador. As always, we buy a lot of different coffee from their farm San Cayetano and we normally release it around Christmas, but this year the coffee arrived early to us in Stockholm and for this we are grateful! This is the washed process of the Red Bourbon (read more about the varietal below). So if you do like this coffee, keep your eyelashes open for more coffees from San Cayetano!
The couple has a processing station, where they process coffee for surrounding farmers in the area. It is known for being working strict and accurate. Rafael is still working hands-on for several hours each day, but the turnout at the processing station is also of a perfect standard; clean with strict attention to details. But, on top of that this coffee is from Carmen and Rafael's own farm called San Cayetano. The farm is located in extremely steep and windy conditions in Ahuachapán in the Santa Ana region.
About Carmen and Rafael Silva Hoff
This is the fifth year we are buying the coffee from Carmen and Rafael. The family is so professional to work with and are so hardworking and the friendliest people. They have full control from the farm throughout the process and export to us.
Sourcing green coffee, we meet a lot of producers and all of them are working very hard. But none we have ever met is working as focused and as many hours of the day as Rafael. He is in total running six farms and one mill. I think it is fair to call Rafael a control freak, details to picking, sorting and also as a fairest possible cupping room.
Being very young Rafael got introduced to coffee, and at the age of 21 Rafael got his first farm from his father. A few years later he met his wife Carmen. The couple got married in their young 30s and since then they are running the business together. Carmen is very much doing everything in the back office, logistics, and marketing. The name of there company is Sicafé.
In 2010, they decided to invest in their own mill called San Pedo. Not to make a lot of money from it, but for having full control of the full process of the coffee. Here they process coffee from their own farms separated by day lots and varietals, and they also process coffee for other producers in the area. Their two sons, Rafael Gerardo and Rodrigo and their daughter Valeria are now very involved in the business.
Carmen and Rafael been winning the El Salvador Cup of Excellence for their farm La Lany in 2005, 2007, for the farm Siberia in 2010 and 2012 and for Llano Grande in 2012. And in 2017 San Cayetano won Silver in the Agenca Pour la Valoriastion des Produits Agirole.
Together the couple holds over 70 years in coffee.
About Red Bourbon
The Red Bourbon trees are fairly tall and have thinner spines, which is tuff in terms of the steep farm and the strong wind. Still, Rafael loves the flavour characteristics of the Red Bourbon. In El Salvador, I think the different kinds of Bourbon taste very sweet and complex in general.
The Bourbon varietal was first discovered at the Bourbon Island, hence the name, and has been spread and is now grown all over the coffee growing world. Originating maybe on the island of Bourbon or perhaps Ethiopia, this varietal has many sub-varietals: Yellow-, Orange -and Red Bourbon. Because of its generally low yield, Bourbon tends to produce a very high-quality cup (there is evidence that the lower the yield the higher the quality as the plant can use its energy more efficiently). Typical cup characteristics for Red Bourbon in El Salvador are a low-medium body, balanced, chocolatey, low-medium acidity with a typically sweet profile.
In El Salvador, the biggest challenges is security for the people and the coffee fungus called leaf rust (roja).
As in most places in El Salvador, the neighbouring farms to San Cayetano are suffering badly from leaf rust which can easily be transferred to the plants at San Cayetano by the wind. For these reasons, the yield has been lower for the last couple of years. Rafael and Carmen have built more windbreakers to shield their plants and applying sulfate and fertilizers. In some areas of San Cayetano that are more fragile to Roja, opera and zink are being applied (helps the leaves). Since a couple of years, a natural organic fertilizer made at the farm, have improved the yield even more.
The workers picking at San Cayetano during three months are local staff from Ahuachapán. They get a ride to and from town by the manager every day. At the mill, many of the workers are employed all year with full insurance. Carmen and Rafael are strict and to the details in how they want to coffee to be treated and they pay their staff above the national guidelines.
At the mill, they are using rainwater they are collecting in two big reservoirs, which is enough for all their water needs.