Finca Himalaya is a 60-hectare farm owned by Mauricio A. Salaverria, who also owns a farm called Finca Divisadero. This farm is located in a different mountain range than it's named for: the Apaneca Mountains in El Salvador's Ataco region. His farms are planted with Bourbon, Pacamara, and Maragogype varieties, as well as cypress, pine and inga shade trees.
The volcanic soil and use of shade create a very hospitable environment for the coffee, and Mauricio has developed his own systems for processing.
Natural-process specialty coffees such as this are something of an experiment in El Salvador, but they are increasing in popularity. The coffee is generally picked ripe and sorted for quality, then placed on raised beds or patios to dry for a month or more.
Variety (Anacafe 14)
Naturally occurring cross of Pacamara and a Catimor-type coffee discovered in the Chiqimula department(1980); released by ANACAFÉ (2014).
Known as “the land of volcanoes,” El Salvador is the smallest Central American country (roughly the same size as New Jersey), but its reputation among specialty-coffee-growing regions has grown larger-than-life, especially since the early 2000s. While coffee was planted and cultivated here mostly for domestic consumption starting in the mid-1700s, it became a stable and significant crop over the next 100 years, notably increasing in national importance during the late 1800s, when the country’s indigo exports were threatened by the development and widespread marketability of synthetic dyes.
As coffee grew in economic importance, different government programs designed to increase production through land, tax, and military-exemption incentives created a small but strong network of wealthy landowners who gained control over the coffee market, in addition to the individual smallholders who were growing coffee as part of their subsistence farming and would sell their cherry to the larger estates or mills.
By the late 1970s, coffee exports accounted for 50 percent of the GDP, but socioeconomic and political unrest hurled the country into civil war for more than a decade, and in the 1980s various land-redistribution projects and agrarian reform disjointed the coffee industry and caused the market to decline. Lacking the resources to continue farming, producers abandoned their coffee farms, and many were left overgrown and unharvested for years until a peace agreement was reached in the 1990s.
It is often said that the Cup of Excellence competition, which came to El Salvador in 2003, was the beginning of the new “wave” of interest in Salvadoran coffee, shining the first light on some of the special varieties the small country grows.
El Salvador Sourcing
As El Salvador continues to bounce back after the devastating effects of coffee-leaf rust, farmers are committed to trying to preserve as much of their heirloom varieties as possible, to mixed results. With yields down as much as 50 percent in places, it is a time of crossroads for Salvadoran producers, who face difficult decisions about what plants to cultivate in the incredibly rich volcanic soils.
Country: El Salvador
Farm: Mauricio Salaverria - Finca Himalaya
Elevation: 1500 MASL
Variety: Heirloom Varietals, Blue Mountain, Rumangabo
Tasting notes: Sweet, winey, syrupy, & balanced with papaya, tropical fruit, tangy coffee cherry, & caramel.