In early 2016, Dunn Brothers Coffee employees and franchisees travelled more than 2,000 miles from the Midwest to the high-altitude Apaneca region of El Salvador. We visited coffee farms, met farmers and their families and saw how they produce some of the best coffee in the world. It was an amazing experience, and we knew we had to share what we found with our customers.
Now, we’re proud and excited to be able to bring home some of the coffee we discovered, El Salvador – Santa Ana, our new featured coffee. This variety actually comes from one of the farms we visited, Las Nubes Farm, a family treasure that has been producing their heirloom variety Bourbon coffee for nearly a century.
We discovered that Salvadorans wear their ‘Bourbon’ badge of honor proudly. Farmers are loyal to this variety known for its big body and sweetness and they believe the Bourbon variety is what makes a coffee distinctively ‘Salvadoran.’ Some of the farmers’ trees can be as much as 80 years old, which make them susceptible to “coffee leaf rust,” but we saw first hand how intensely the farmers manage and take care of their precious trees to ensure they continue to produce incredible coffee beans.
Processing experiments in El Salvador are leading to some very unique microlots, by enhancing flavor notes in the cup, and the two beans we are releasing are great examples of that. Dunn Brothers Coffee stores will offer both the washed- and natural-process versions of the Santa Ana coffee.
The washed process creates a nuance and complexity with great intensity to the beans. The cherry’s outer layer is removed, and the bean inside is fermented in water for at least one to two days, which removes the natural sugars that cover the bean inside. After the sugars are removed, the beans are washed again, and then dried.
The natural process creates a flavor similar to that of the coffee cherry itself. The whole cherry is dried out on either a raised platform or a large patio, and will often remain whole until just before the time of export before it’s removed to reveal the green coffee bean inside.
Releasing the two versions of the beans one at a time will give you the chance to experience the distinct flavor characteristics developed by two different processing methods at one farm.
With the washed-process beans, you will notice floral and citric sweet flavors, balanced out with milk chocolate toffee and finishing with nutty tones. It’s a smooth and medium-bodied coffee, and you’re going to love it.
Following the washed-process beans, we’ll release the natural-process coffee, a medium-body with ripe berry and honey citrus aromas with a caramel finish.
We are very excited about these two coffees. In part, because we were able to develop ties with the community, farm and the family that grew and produced these beans. They were wonderful hosts, we learned so much and we’re just thankful we’re now able to bring a little of our adventure back home for you.
Check out the video here. It outlines the coffee producing process, from beginning to end, and shows you why we’re so excited about our new El Salvador coffee.