News from the shops
New Coffee: El Salvador El Majahual Kenya Process
A very exciting arrival to the roastery this week in the form of a coffee from El Majahual in El Salvador processed in the traditional Kenyan style. This coffee is part of the Aida Batlle Selection, a program run by the celebrated Salvadorian producer to share her experimental and groundbreaking work on farming and processing with other farmers and consumers. Aida Batlle, whose family have been growing coffee in El Salvador since the late nineteenth century, rose to prominence when her farm Finca Kilimanjaro won first place in El Salvador's inaugural Cup of Excellence competition in 2003. Since then she has conducted truly groundbreaking work at her four farms and pioneered the use of different processes in El Salvador including this 'Kenya' process, an 'Ethiopia' process and 'Sumalvador' which combines the traditional Giling Basah, or wet hulled, Sumatran process with Salvadorian coffee. Due to the increased worldwide demand for her coffees, in recent years Aida has started to work with other farmers in the region to produce and process their coffees in these styles. The coffee we have purchased is one of these farms, El Majahual owned by Roberto Murray Meza and is processed using Aida's 'Kenya' method. Kenyan coffee is produced using a unique version of the washed process. Ripe cherries are depulped to remove the skin of the fruit and then channelled into fermentation tanks. Most countries ferment the coffee for 12-24 hours but in Kenya (and in this process) the coffee is fermented for an initial 24 hours then thoroughly washed before being fermented for a second 24 hours. After another thorough cleaning to remove all mucilage, yeast and bacteria from the fermentation, the coffee is soaked in clean fresh water for several hours. Finally the coffee is dried on raised net beds as opposed to the concrete patios that are common in Central America. These beds allow air to flow underneath the coffee and so allow more efficient and consistent drying. The effect of this double fermentation, post fermentation soak and bed drying is an increased body and a greater clarity to the acidity which has a lighter sparkling feel. In the cup we found the Majahual to have a lovely buttery caramel body up front which is then completed by that lingering citrus acidity with grapefruit orange and lemon flavours. It is a beautifully composed cup with complex and interesting flavours and great match of body and acidity. We are really thrilled to have coffee from these great producers and to support their efforts in perfecting their craft. We love this coffee from El Majahual and hope you will too. El Majahual is available for web orders now and available in shops and on the brewbars from this weekend.