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Welcome on and all to another week of fantastic coffee, This week we have the amazing El Salvador Miravalle COE Lot #12 available as both espresso and filter. For those of you with more affordable tastes, we also have the Kenya Sasini roasted for Espresso.    El Salvador Miravalle Cup of Excellence Lot #12 Region: Santa Ana Variety: Bourbon, Pacas, Kenya Processing: Washed Altitude: 1,650 metres above sea level Owner: Jaime Ernesto Riera Menendez Score: 86.33 Red apple, tangerine, and toffee with a juicy mouthfeel and lingering finish. Finca Miravalle is located on the Ilamatec Mountain Range on the fertile foothills of El Salvador's Santa Ana volcano at an average altitude of 1,650 metres above sea level. Gracefully located at 'Potrero Grande Arriba', Miravalle farm thrives amongst a breath-taking view, climate, rainfall and continued meticulous care from it's owners. This small farm is owned and managed by Jaime Ernesto Riera Menendez, whose family has been producing coffee in El Salvador for several generations. Jaime (who is a gastroenterologist and also a coffee producer!) initially inherited the farm from his mother, Marta Dolores Menéndez de Riera a few years ago, and together they still supervise all the work. Some 6.7 hectares of the farm are planted out with a mix of Bourbon, Kenya and Pacas variety trees, which are grown in the shade of native Ingas, Cipres and Gravileo species. The coffee is selectively handpicked when fully ripe, then washed and dried in the sun. Some of the practices they use at the farm are the continuous pruning of the coffee and shade trees, weed control, replanting and renewing the farm, all of this work using traditional methods. Due to it's high altitude Miravalle's coffee berries ripen slowly, which allows the sweetness and complexity to develop in the cup. This year's harvest was not picked until February when the coffee had fully ripened. Throughout the year only 2 people live at the farm, the manager, Francisco Recinos and his wife. During harvest Finca Miravalle employs around 70 selected pickers from the surrounding areas. Finding workers around this area is very difficult because many people migrated to the lower plains after Santa Ana's eruption in 2005. As a result Miravalle pay their pickers almost 40% above the minimum wage. Jaime thinks the reason why his farm was awarded 12th place in the Cup of Excellence this year is the excellent quality of the Bourbón variety, also its altitude and location. He is highly motivated to keep up with the optimum harvest and sorting processes to improve the quality each year. He thinks the key to this is motivating the people that work on the farm, teaching them the importance of their role, and improving the benefits for everyone involved.   Kenya Sasini Region: Thika District Altitude: 1,700 metres above sea level Variety: Ruiri 11 and Bourbon Processing: Pulped Natural Owner: Mr Berbard Njenga  Full bodied with notes of caramel, molasses, toffee and maple syrup with a sweet lingering finish. The name Sasini, was derived from the river known as Thathini, which the Europeans pronounced as Sasini. The farms were initially owned by white settlers on standard basis and have since changed hands to different owners. The first coffee trees were planted in the early 1940s. Wild animal such as Hare, Antelopes, Monkeys and other friendly animals find their way in search of food in the plantations. Coffee is harvested in two stages, early harvest from April to September and late harvest from October to December. The coffee is all hand picked and pulped in a wet mill, before being fermented and dried on drying tables. It is during the drying stage that all defects are removed by hand. The unique climate sees rainfall of about 900-1300 mm annually with temperatures ranging between 13-26 degrees. Long rains occur between March and May while the short rains occur between October and December. The region consists of red volcanic soils with some patches of loam and Marram Soils mainly in the lower Kiambu area. The surrounding area is densely populated with little or no existence of wild animals. The environment is mostly made up of indigenous trees which are well protected by the community. The affiliate members of the factory carry out all agronomic activities associated with coffee production i.e. they source coffee from the Coffee Research Station and plant it according to the stipulated guidelines. Fieldwork carried out involves weeding, pruning, spraying, and application of fertilizer, mulching and technical advice. Technical advice is offered through farmer training programs and field visits/days offered by ministry of agriculture. Compliance to the agreed guidelines is checked and supervised by the field committee which goes round the farms. They usually check that coffee is not inter-grown with other crops such as maize and Beans, though they do allow intercropping with Macadamia. They also encourage farmers who have abandoned their coffee bushes to come more so due to high prices. Enjoy,
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