We’re coming up to our second season sourcing coffee from El Cipres in El Salvador so I recently caught up with Tomas who kindly provided an update from his farm, about this year’s crop and how COVID-19 has affected his business.
ABOUT EL CIPRES
Tomas has been farming coffee for over a decade. He manages a group of farms on his estate, all of which sit on the Santa Ana volcano and range in altitudes from Finca Loma de Paja at 1200masl (metres above sea level) to Finca El Cipres (our coffee) at 1800masl. The rich volcanic soils and perfect micro-climates provide perfect conditions to grow good quality speciality coffee.
PREPARATION FOR THIS YEAR’S CROP
Work began on the farm last May in preparation for producing another year of excellent quality speciality coffee. This included the following: Pruning, weed control, removing surrounding plant vines, fertilizing with foliage, digging holes to plant new trees, fungus control with foliage and transporting water, trimming of plants, lime application around plants for better soil, transporting plants from greenhouses to farm, planting, fungus control and fertilizer application, more trimming weeds around plants, irrigation and more application of fertilizer, fungus control for leaf rust and Anthracnosis and setting traps to combat berry boarer (all coffee diseases), reforestation to provide a secondary canopy layer for shade and trimming existing shade trees…..hopefully that gives you some appreciation for what goes into producing your morning coffee!
THE 2020 EL CIPRES CROP
The harvest was a late one at El Cipres due to a shortage of labour at the beginning of the year (it started in January and finished at the end of April). The quality has been very good and I was excited to hear that Tomas has introduced honey processed and washed coffee into his lineup this year. Much of what he has harvested has been processed on his farm, so he can ensure the quality is consistently good throughout. Our natural coffee is processed on raised African beds (see image below), and requires regular turning of the coffee during the day and covering overnight to maintain quality and avoid excessive humidity.
COVID-19 has affected everyone in the coffee industry from cafés to roasters to farmers. Thankfully Tomas and his family are all healthy and well and so far there has been a limited impact on his business. Everyone who works on the farm lives there so there hasn’t been an issue with social distancing measures affecting the workforce, and although El Salvador is in lockdown, coffee is still able to be moved rather than being stuck at the country’s port. However, some buyers have delayed purchases of this year’s crop due to the current uncertainties. Like the rest of us, Tomas is taking one day at a time.
We’ve really enjoyed receiving feedback from people enjoying El Cipres, all of which has been passed on to Tomas. We’re now eagerly awaiting the new crop which is due to land late summer. In the meantime we really recommend trying this interesting natural processed coffee if you haven’t already - it’s unlikely to last until the new one arrives!
See more from the farm below or follow Tomas and El Cipres on Instagram.