El Salvador

This month we’re welcoming our final releases of the Central American season, from El Salvador. We travelled across El Salvador in March 2023, catching up with many  producers we have worked with for several years.

El Salvador is a rather small country in terms of area, but full of contrasts. We examine coffees produced at each end of the country this month. Kilimanjaro lies in the far west of El Salvador, while Los Pirineos lies in the far east. Each is produced by talented, driven and experienced coffee professional, in the shape of Aida Batlle and Diego Baraona. 


Both ends of the country share volcanic soils, on the Santa Ana and the Tecapa volcano respectively, but the influence of the cooler coastal climate is clearer at Los Pirineos, meaning coffee grows lower down the mountain, but at a similar average temperature. Additionally, Los Pirineos is planted with great care and order, separating each varietal and plot, while Kilimanjaro follows the forest, with SL-28 and Bourbon trees interspersed, leading to the varietal blend in this month’s lot. Some fundamental differences in conditions, approach, and lot creation lead to two contrasting expressions of El Salvador’s coffee history.

El Salvador is a captivating country. A myriad of landscapes, terroirs, ancient cultures alongside modern, and a rapidly shifting political landscape, to put it mildly. Through all of this, the group of dedicated and steadfast coffee professionals that we work with continue to produce excellent coffees year after year. We hope you enjoy Aida and Diego’s work this month, a fine culmination of this year’s Central American season.

Los Pirineos

The Los Pirineos farm has been in the Baraona family for over 130 years. The farm is named for the Pyrenees mountain range that separates France and Spain; many are struck by the breathtaking landscape here in the far east of El Salvador, close to the border with Honduras. After generations of hard work, the family lost much of their land during the brutal Salvadoran Civil in the 1980’s. Gilberto Baraona returned to the family lands against the wishes of his grandparents, who wanted their descendants to avoid the hardship they had been through while producing coffee. Gilberto’s resolve was strong, and he rebuilt the farm, refocussing on producing high quality coffee until his tragic death in 2020. The farm was then taken over by his son Diego, the fifth generation of the Baraona family to work with coffee. Diego, at only 29, has taken on his father’s legacy with aplomb. 

We visited Los Pirineos in March 2023, our first trip since Diego took over operations. We were once again stunned by the steep volcanic slopes of the farm, perched on the Tecapa volcano. One of the highlights of a visit to Los Pirineos is always the varietal garden, curated by Diego’s father throughout his time in coffee. The garden is home to 70 different varietals, many of which we’ve never seen before on our travels in coffee, or are familiar with from other parts of the coffee belt. From this varietal garden, over 20 varietals are in production on the farm, a number Diego has been increasing slowly, along with a greater emphasis on processing, but still with a focus on Pirineos’ incredible terroir, and signature coffees such as Pacamara and Bourbon.

This lot is of the Pacamara varietal, processed using a washed method. All of the water used for processing at Los Pirineos is taken from their rainwater harvesting tank, reducing the farm’s fresh water demand massively. This water usage is reduced even further by the use of Penagos eco-pulping equipment, removing much of the mucilage during the pulping process, removing the need for further fermentation and washing.

This results in some of the cleanest representations of terroir and varietal we’ve found during our time in coffee, with floral aromas followed by orange and rich brown sugar in the cup. 

Coffee no.1

Finca Kilimanjaro is owned by the Batlle family, and has been run mainly by Aida Batlle, the sixth generation of the family to produce coffee, for over 2 decades. Aida is a true trailblazer in the coffee world, having been the first woman to win a Cup of Excellence, the inaugural Salvadoran competition in 2003. Fleeing to Miami during El Salvador’s brutal Civil War, Aida returned to the family’s farms in the late 90’s. Although much of the coffee from the farms was pre-contracted to a local buyer, Aida was free to experiment on the highest plot of land, with the highest quality potential, Finca Kilimanjaro. It was not long after this that her attention to detail paid off, and the Cup of Excellence win opened the doors not only for the Batlle farms, but for a wider quality revolution in El Salvador. Since then, Aida has worked with some of the finest roasters across the world, innovating in new varietals, processing techniques, the export of cascara, and developing direct trade models.

This coffee comes from Kilimanjaro itself, located high on the slopes of the Santa Ana volcano, not far from the town of Santa Ana itself. The volcanic soils of Santa Ana are very fertile, leading to excellent yields as well as quality. Here, as on all of the family farms, the level of control at all stages is impressive. Only the ripest red cherries are picked, fermentation protocols are followed to the letter, and coffee is stored and dry-milled under exacting conditions. We visited the farm and the attached processing station in March 2023, and were once again impressed by the systems employed, and the continued push for improvement. A collaborative plot with World Coffee Research is home to genetic blueprints for Salvadoran varietals, and continually searches for new ways to improve quality, both at the Batlle farms and across the coffee belt.

This lot is a blend of varietals grown at Kilimanjaro, which includes very old SL varietal trees and Bourbon, processed using the washed method. This leads to a rich and sweet cup, with a round and juicy berry acidity.

Coffee no.2

V60 Brew Guide

For El Salvadorian coffee we like to highlight their deep complexity of acidity and sweetness, this is done by using a v60 with a long brew time.


15 grams of medium coarse grind

250 grams of water 50 ppm 96°C


0:00 Pour the bloom 60g

0:45 Pour up to 105g

1:30 Pour up to 150g

2:15 Pour up to 195g

3:00 Pour up to250g

Total brew time should be around 4:15