El Salvador Finca Las Nubes
Origin: El Salvador
Region: Santa Ana-ILAMATEPEC
Farmer: Ernesto Lima
Varietal: Red ,Yellow , and Orange Bourbon- Dwarf Bourbon-Pacamara- Catuai- Caturra- Castillo- Pacas
Altitude: 1500-1850 meters
Proc. Method: Micro-Milled/Washed/Dried on Raised Beds
In the Cup: Full Body-Caramel-Almond
Las Nubes is a large farm spanning over 1500 acres at elevations 1150-1800 meters above sea level. In addition, it is biologically diverse with at least 8 cultivars of coffee mixed in with over 72 acres of unfarmed land. Las Nubes was hit very hard when the Ilamatepec Volcano erupted in 2005 as were all the farms on the Eastern slope. The harvest that year was lost. In the next few years, Ernesto continued the harvest as usual, but the yield and quality were not close to the pre-eruption levels/standards. Ernesto had the soil tested and after evaluation was advised that due to such high levels of phosphorous it would be best to allow the farm to lay fallow for a few years. And so he did. At Bridgeport Coffee’s 2013 Meet the Farmer event, I cupped Las Nubes for the first time in several years. Although it demanded very little attention from the attendees, I thought it was excellent. The best I had ever found it to be. Ernesto later told me he had begun to work the farm again and it was beginning to show real signs of recovery… Just in time for the Roya breakout. Las Nubes has been hit hard by Coffee Rust. It seems to be present at every elevation. There will be aggressive pruning and many new plants next year.
The process of fighting Roya has begun. In 2014 a single lot of the farm was replanted with the Dwarf Bourbon cultivar. This type of Bourbon is less affected by the strong ocean winds and is therefore better able to withstand the dry, harsh conditions of the El Salvador summer. Today, the farm workers are in the process of mass lot plantings of the Roya resistent cultivar Castillo. Castillo, developed by the Colombian Coffee Federation has a controversial past. However, its recent performance in coffee competitions has given Central American Coffee Framers hope that there is an option to the traditional Bourbon Cultivar currently being lost in great numbers to Leaf Rust and outbreaks of commonly found micro-organism in the soil called Nematodes. Both are widely attributed to climate change.
Update 2018– Las Nubes is being divided into lots of different sizes where new coffee trees are being planted. The new plantings consist of Geisha, Tabi, Pacamara (Anacafe 14), Kenya, Mocca and Laurina varieties, as well as the traditional Bourbons. Weather is changing at Las Nubes, both temperature and solar exposure have increased in the last 2 years, with the effect of earlier ripening and less fungal disease, although Roya (leaf rust) is always present. Ernesto is installing solar panels that will provide electricity to the farm as well as a small office to receive friends (us).