COUNTRY: El Salvador
Coffee was first cultivated in El Salvador in the early 19th century. There were many incentives for coffee production such as tax breaks, exemption from military service for coffee workers, and elimination of export duties for new producers. As a result, by the 1880’s coffee had become virtually the sole export crop. Unfortunately, in the decades leading up to the civil conflict in the 1980’s, guerrilla attacks, natural disasters and government control had already caused the coffee industry to suffer, and the civil war was the final blow. Since 2000, El Salvador has struggled to keep up with increased competition in the world market, but with younger producers like Emilio Lopez Diaz coming into the picture, the future is looking brighter.
REGION: Apaneca-Illamatepec, Santa Ana
This is the largest producing region of El Salvador, and likely where coffee was first cultivated in the country. The region shares its name with the mountain range in the same area. Thanks to the altitude, weather and rich volcanic soil, it is no wonder that the area produces such amazing coffee.
PROCESS: Black Honey
Black honey processed coffee is the most complex, laborious and costly way to process green coffee. Cherries are picked only at their ripest, when they contain a high amount of sugar and acid which is necessary for fermenting the green beans. The entire process takes about 15 days to dry, along with careful monitoring and turning. The result is a rich full-bodied, flavourful coffee unlike any other process.
PRODUCER: Juan Carlos Gregg Meza
After purchasing El Recuerdo in 2004, Juan Carlos Gregg Meza, a fourth-generation coffee producer, set out to contribute and build on the great quality coffees grown in the region. He has done this by using innovative agricultural practices. He also is aware that success with his coffee is only possible with the help of his workers, and as a result he provides wages above law requirements, offers paid vacations and covers medical expenses when needed.