It’s been a while, but the time is finally nigh—MistoBox Week is here again!
Last month, MistoBox took a major step forward with the caliber of roasting companies that they source from with the likes of Passion House, Panther, Cartel, and Barefoot; this month, their Rolodex took another giant leap forward with the additions of Augie’s Coffee, Klatch Coffee, Ceremony Coffee, and today’s coffee, Verve.
Verve is one of those companies that we just don’t get to experience that often here in the Midwest, but the few times I tried it in the past, I was head over heels about it, so I’m really looking forward to this review.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of El Salvador La Palma, from Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz, California. Feel free to pull up a chair.
While El Salvador La Palma isn’t a blend in the traditional sense, this coffee was pulled together from four separate farms in the La Palma region of El Salvador: La Roxanita, La Montana, El Cacagunasal, and Los Toreros.
Finca La Roxanita is owned by producer Ignacio Gutiérrez Solis, and is located in Chalatenango, near the pueblo of La Palma. It’s pretty exciting to experiencing this offering from Ignacio’s finca, as he produced the winning coffee at the 2011 El Salvador Cup of Excellence competition. La Roxanita scored an incredible 93.19 points, and placed above forty-one other coffees that qualified as Cup of Excellence coffees. Ignacio devotes great care and dedication to his farm year after year, and his continued commitment to superior coffee was evident on our cupping table this season as well.
Finca La Montaña is in the Chalatenango department, near the city of La Palma which is quite close to the border with Honduras. It is owned by Raúl Ochoa Hernández and comprises Pacas, Pacamara, and Bourbon varietals. The average age of his trees is under 20 years, owing to a lot of new plantings over the last few years. The coffee is cultivated at around 1350-1400 meters above sea level. La Montaña has consistently placed highly in El Salvador’s Cup of Excellence program, taking out the top spot in 2007 for its Pacamara varietal.
origin: La Palma, Chalatenango, El Salvador
farm: Finca La Roxanita // Finca La Montana // Finca El Cacaguanasal // Finca Los Toreros
elevation: 1400 – 1600 meters above sea level
cultivars: Pacamara // Pacamara // N/A // N/A
process: honey process, patio dried
The aroma of the El Salvador La Palma is savory and sweet with notes of floral aromatics, citrus fruitiness, and sugary confections. Sniff after sniff my nose is greeted by caramel, butterscotch, malts, black tea, orange blossoms, lavender, and bergamot.
Immediately post-brew, savory and herbaceous are the defining features of the cup. Salted caramel and toffee greet the palate first, laying down a creamy bed that all of the other flavors in the cup come floating in on. Notes of clove and black tea leaves follow closely behind, tickling the tip of the tongue.
As it cools off, a tropical fruit bomb explodes directly over the center of the palate, raining down flavors of starfruit, papaya, mango, strawberry, currant, kiwi, orange peel, and a really graceful grapefruit acidity that manages to stay reigned in, not being overly tart or bitter.
Medium body; juicy mouthfeel; grapefruit acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
Yeah, so every now and then, an El Salvadoran coffee will really take me by surprise. This coffee, the El Salvador La Palma from Verve, was one of those coffees. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, though—I already knew that Verve puts out nothing but high quality product.
The La Palma is so flavorful and so dynamic and so perfectly balanced, but more impressively, it is so clean. This cup has a lot of depth and a sparkling finish that just keeps going and going.
I absolutely adored this coffee, and if it’s any indication of the qualities of the rest of the coffee that are in this month’s MistoBox, I imagine we’re in for an incredible week.
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