El Salvador coffee is some of the best in the world. Here, we take a look at some of our favorite coffee farms in this tiny Central American country.
If there’s one product that Central America is famous for, it’s coffee. Central America is the home of the first banana republics. You’ll find all sorts of tropical fruit on your supermarket shelves originating in this part of the world. But its the coffee where Central American quality shines through.
Every country in Central America produces great coffee – even Belize, which is better known for its chocolate. It’s all that volcanic soil, you see. That, and a combination of altitude and latitude that creates perfect growing conditions in this part of the world. The most famous coffee producing countries in Central America tend to be Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Honduras. But coffee lovers in the know won’t ignore the coffee in El Salvador.
El Salvador might be Central America’s smallest country, but in coffee production terms, it packs a punch.
For much of the 19th century, after El Salvador became independent, coffee accounted for over half of GDP in the country. Nowadays, that figure is into single digits, but don’t let that fool you into thinking coffee isn’t important.
Coffee in El Salvador sustains small farmers and producers. After the civil war ended in 1992, land reforms broke up many large coffee estates. Now, over 90% of coffee is grown on farms of less than 20 hectares.
Another interesting fact about Salvadoran coffee is that the vast majority of it – some 90% – is shade-grown. This means it grows under the canopy of other trees, rather than out in the sun. Experts consider shade-grown coffee to be a more natural way of cultivation, producing better tasting beans. Shade-grown coffee is also better for the environment, involving less pesticide use while also preserving local eco-systems and wildlife.
And then there’s the notable low acidity of El Salvador’s coffee beans. The country is famous for producing stomach-friendly beans, mostly in the form of bourbon, pacamara, and – most recently – geisha. These beans produce a full-bodied yet smooth flavor that makes Salvadoran beans perfect for blended coffee.
With that all said, let’s now take a look at some famous coffee farms in El Salvador.
Some of these places accept visitors who can come and learn about the growing and production process. And, of course, get to buy and take home lots of quality, delicious, coffee!
J.J. Borja Nathan Estate Coffee Farms
One of the biggest producers of coffee in el Salvador is the J.J. Borja Nathan Estate. Owned by Grupo Borja, it produces 12 varieties of coffees and exports worldwide.
All their farms are in the mountains around Apaneca. The rich volcanic soil provides the perfect ground for high-quality coffee.
Finca La Esperanza
Located near the Santa Ana Volcano, Finca La Esperanza grows a wide range of coffee. You’ll find pacas, pacamara, yellow bourbon, orange bourbon, and more varients on this farm. They used to offer excellent coffee tours tours, but had to shut down due to the pandemic. But you never know, they might start up again soon, and if they do, they’re well worth a visit.
Cooperativa Los Pinos
Another coffee farm in the Santa Ana area is the Cooperativa Los Pinos, which specializes in different varieties of bourbon beans.
The cooperative welcomes visitors and also offers cabin accommodations for guests. A stay here gives guests access to the beautiful Lake Coatepeque. Whether you’re staying the night or not, make sure you check out the cooperative’s own Vista Lago restaurant.
Finca Divina Providencia Estate
Finca Divina Providencia, in Apaneca, has a unique microclimate and nutrient-rich soil, which makes it ideal ground for coffee production. It’s a perfect example of a shade-grown coffee farm.
This is another farm that offers tours for anyone traveling through or staying in this part of El Salvador.
Finca El Carmen
Also located near Apaneca is Finca El Carmen. It’s another good example of a shade-grown coffee farm, and it produces excellent red and orange bourbon variants. Finca El Carmen also offers overnight accommodations and coffee tours.
These are some of our favorite coffee farms in El Salvador.
Whether you take a coffee tour in El Salvador or not, or stay in one of the country’s coffee farms or not, make sure you pick up some tasty coffee to take home for yourself or as a gift for your loved ones. It’s one of the best souvenirs you can ever buy in El Salvador.