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El Salvador Buenos Aires Fermentation Test Collection


Country: El Salvador
Region: Santa Ana
Producer: Florence Mathies-Hill and Aida Batlle
Farm: Buenos Aires
Altitude: 5,000 feet
Variety: Bourbon
Process: Washed


This collection includes three half pound bags:

El Salvador Buenos Aires Control
El Salvador Buenos Aires Oro
El Salvador Buenos Aires L2


Due to limited availability and to maintain freshness, this collection will be roasted once a week on Wednesday. Order now and we will roast and ship the following Wednesday.

For the fifth year in a row we are featuring coffee from Finca Buenos Aires! We continue the tradition of bringing in a small assortment of coffees processed by unique methods. This time, in an ongoing collaboration with Aida Batlle and the J. Hill family, we are featuring this trio of coffees.

Last year we featured a fermentation test series using yeast developed for coffee by Scott Laboratories. Sonoma County-based Scott Labs has been in business over 80 years, with an historical focus on the wine, beer and spirits industries. We were happy to partner with them as they boldly venture into the world of coffee.

This year Aida Batlle, along with Ted Stachura, Equator’s Director of Coffee, experimented by processing three batches using the Burundi-style; washing method (described in more detail below.)

Two strains of yeast were selected, one known as Oro (the strain we used last year) and a new strain called L2. No yeast was added during the fermentation stage in the Control lot. The other two lots were processed in the exact same way, except the different strains of yeast were used to control fermentation.

In the wine industry, many yeast types have been identified and it is widely understood that particular strains will contribute unique flavor characteristics to the wine. This same tradition does not exist with coffee where historically, naturally occurring yeasts are the norm. The theory with the Oro strain is that it will provide sweetness, balance and consistency to the cup. It is thought that the L2 strain will provide more brightness and fruit-toned flavor to the coffee.

Ultimately, yeast provides a measure of control to the people who are processing the coffee. The hope is that by controlling fermentation, the mill can consistently develop different flavor profiles by using different strains of yeast.

In October 2016 we began a tasting series with these three coffees, we plan to keep roasting and tasting these coffees every eight weeks for the next year to see if we can come to any conclusions about the benefit of the of yeasts in regard to uniqueness of flavor, consistency and longevity. We thought it would be fun to offer these three coffees together in one collections so anyone can taste along with us.

While supplies last, please enjoy this collection of coffees that have so much in common yet taste uniquely distinct.

Last year, as some of you may recall, we featured three lots – a traditional washed process control batch, an identical lot using yeast during the fermentation stage and finally a Burundi-style washing variant that used the same yeast. After evaluating the coffee over the course of the season, the general consensus favored the Burundi-style lot.

As a result, this year we decided to process all lots according to this method. With the Burundi method of processing the yeasts were added during the initial dry fermentation stage, which takes 24 hours with the introduction of water and agitation at the halfway point. After the dry fermentation stage, the coffee is fermented underwater for another 24 hours, also with agitation halfway through. The coffee is then washed of all remaining mucilage and the returned to the fermentation tank to soak in fresh water for an additional 24 hours. Finally, the coffee is placed on raised beds to dry thoroughly in the sun.

Aida Batlle is a fifth-generation farmer who has been working in coffee for over a dozen years. Batlle entered coffee in the very first El Salvador Cup of Excellence competition in 2003, making a splash by placing two winning lots, including the first place award. Since then she has garnered admiration for her commitment to quality and transparency, as well as for providing high wages, health care and other benefits for her workers. Batlle expanded her influence beyond her family’s farms and began working with other growers under the banner Aida Batlle Selection. These coffees are a result of that collaboration.