El Salvador Finca El Manzano - El Palmero Lot, Natural (Dry Process)

El Salvador Finca El Manzano - El Palmero Lot, Natural (Dry Process)

Farm Description

Finca El Manzano is located 10 miles to the southeast of Santa Ana and is owned by Margarita Diaz de Lopez who is the great granddaughter of Cornelio Lemus who founded the farm in 1872. The farm is home to the cutting edge Beneficio De Manzano established by CuatroM Single Origin Coffees in 2005. CuatroM has sold coffee from El Manzano to Atlas Coffees for the last couple of years, and Atlas were the ones who introduced us to this really exciting and unique opportunity to look at El Manzano's coffee processing experiments. While the production of the mill is around 700,000 lbs, the Beneficio has been built to be able to carefully handle small lots, and in this case offer 3 different processing methods of the same coffee. This is the really unique part of all this, the 100% Bourbon varietal coffees that we are offering at Sweet Maria's through this project were all harvested from the same plot, identified as the El Palmero plot, on the same day, 12/29/09, and have then been processed using three different methods: Wet Process, Pulp Natural, and Full Dry Process. The coffee was brought to the Beneficio after harvest and then through a cleverly designed receiving station were separated to go to either the pulper and then fermentation tanks, or the demucilager and then to patio drying, or straight to the drying patios (after a careful cleansing of the whole fruit). Usually when looking at the differences that these processing methods give to the coffee, there is not the same level of control in that the coffee was most likely harvested and processed at different times, from different plots at different altitudes, and could very well be a blend of various varietals. What are the differences that you are tasting then? In this experiment, Emilio Lopez Diaz who is the VP of CuatroM, has made as much about the make-up of these coffees the same in order to get as clear a picture as possible of the differences made by processing method. The one other difference is that both the washed (wet processed) and pulp natural lots dried on the patio for 9 days, while the full natural was only on the patio for 8 days which is because it was dried on a patio at lower altitude with more heat and sun (this is due to a space constraint that will be fixed for next year's crop). So I guess that you can ask yourself if that one day is maybe adding a bit of difference to the cup, but that's part of what makes this so much fun is that new questions can be raised. All that being said, cupping these coffees is a truly exciting intellectual experience. There is a pronounced difference in the cup, but at the same time a very logical progression of the development of certain flavors and characteristics which show how similar the coffees are as well. The coffee itself is sweet and bright, not a lot of delicate floral notes which might show more dramatic changes through the processing, but the transformation is clear, and one thing that was interesting in terms of debate is that my scores increased with the amount of coffee cherry that was left on the parchment; meaning, in my opinion the natural was the best of the three, with the pulp natural being second, and the washed while being a sweet and bright and clean cup lacked the complexity and dimensions offered in the two other processes. We are offering the El Palmero Lot, Full Natural Process here at Coffee Shrub, and offering this experiment as a 3-pack of one pound of each of the three processes at Sweet Maria's:

Link to 3-pack on Sweet Maria's - http://bit.ly/bG4cog

We strongly encourage you to look into these because we feel that this a unique learning opportunity not just in understanding the taste differences of these processes, but the roasting differences as well. Watching how each process reacts leading up to and during the first crack is a really eye opening experience, with the washed coffee (and the pulp natural to a slightly lesser extent) resisting the crack and needing a little more of a push, while the full natural moved into the crack and it was vital not to let it run away, the timing on reducing the energy input on this roast was so crucial. And then there is looking at each process at different roast levels. I am extremely curious to find out what other peoples' experiences are with these coffees so please share your thoughts in the comments section, and there is also a thread on the SM forum for this discussion as well.

Link to Forum - http://bit.ly/c7AplR

Cupping Notes

Violet and fruit punch in the dry aroma at City, while City+ has a deep nectarine that turns more towards plum in the wet aroma with pie spices. The break promises a bowl full of various stone fruits in honey, and the first sips of both the City and City+ roasts are incredibly juicy, juicy down the wrist after the first bite juicy. The sweetness is intense, but never cloying, and the body just keeps getting more and more syrupy as the cup cools. For all the nectarine and plum and blackberry in this coffee and the rich syrupy body, it's actually not that complex. Just like the full washed process, there is a purity and clarity in the flavors presented here. The Full City roast shows less smoke than the two other processes at that level, and there is some presence of bitter chocolates along with buttery pie crust notes in the finish. I could see this as an espresso component or as a single origin shot itself. The City+ roast has the most balance between the tanginess, sweetness, and syrupy body. It is interesting to me to see the notes hinted at in the pulp natural become fully realized in this cup. Really sense that on the whole there is a very logical progression of characteristics in each process, and in the end that using the full natural dry process on this coffee improved on what was presented in the wet process.



Lot Size

10 70 Kilo Bags

Roast Recommendations

Not recommended


Dry Process



Grade & Appearance

.2 d/300gr, 17-18 screen


Shipped in GrainPro, vacuum packed at our warehouse
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This coffee has sold out. The review is provided for reference purposes only.

Drying Patio at El Manzano, full natural drying process can be seen.

Depulping Station, depulping is only done at night

coffees are identified with: Date of the cherry, Quality, Farm, Plantation Lot Area, Batch Number, and Crop Week Number


#1 We roasted this coffee on a

We roasted this coffee on a Friday and enjoyed the development over the weekend in the cup.

As with most naturals, we take a rather conservative approach to roasting as first crack approaches. I back the energy way off in the 10-15 degrees ahead of first crack and actually remove the energy altogether for about 45 seconds once the crack starts to really roll.

This coffee responded well to our approach and I reintroduced about 10% energy on a Probat and continued on the roast for about 2:20 minutes. It finished @ 432 which we find gives us city+ using Tom's scale. This was roughly a 1/2 batch on a 12K machine, hitting the first crack @ 9:45 and finishing @ 12:50

Of course, being hasty we tried it right away with no rest. Not much there, except to say there were no taints whatsoever. The next morning, about 18 hours off roast it was starting to exhibit maple sugar and prune plum notes in the cup.

Day two was more exciting, the plum notes were more intense and the maple sugar gave way to a pure cane juice. The mouthfeel on both days was very pleasing, although not as heavy as I anticipated from a natural. This is an exceedingly clean cup and might shift the disdain of naturalphobes.

Monday came 'round and it brewed up nicely for our workingman's crew of 9AM regulars. No way we can accommodate 35 of them with manual brewing in their scant 10 minutes of breaktime so it has to be 6L out of a fetco. This cup proved to be sweet, supple and very body-heavy. Not a hint of bright acidity, but very balanced and exceedingly sweet.

Then came the espresso test. I'm not sure this is a candidate for an S/O. A bit thinner than most of the naturals that hit the espresso machine. Certainly nice, but this coffee did not hold up well to a cappuccino which is my preferred espresso delivery system.

I'm a fan. Thanks guys!

#2 So Rad! Thanks for the

So Rad! Thanks for the comments, Tim. I'm still playing with an espresso roast, also considering doing a blend of the 3 different processes together. THis natural really is a surprisingly clean cup! You expect some mild earth or even bitter dark choc notes, but you're dead on with pure cane juice.

#3 I should clarify, the roast I

I should clarify, the roast I did was not a great candidate for the S/O espresso. I wouldn't rule it out based on one roast and I think a bit more towards FC might make a better espresso, or perhaps a melange.....If I was a big fan of espresso I might chase the rabbit down the hole, but I'm all too happy with a Chemex or a Clever as are the vast majority of my customers.

#4 Altitude Adjustment

Tom was mentioning to me that at 1300-1400 meters, this coffee is a little lower grown than some of the other really nice coffees from El Salvador. With this in mind, I was thinking that perhaps full natural processing might be a way to add a little something something (depth, complexity, sweetness) to lower altitude coffees, since I really did feel like the DP really boosted this coffee (added about 3 points to final cupping score). I realize that it's higher risk, but the mill at Manzano is designed to handle this process really well with the fruit itself being washed and sorted and graded in their DP, lessening some of that risk. I just thought that this was a curious point to think on. For the record, the WP Manzano is a really sweet, bright and clean coffee if you haven't tried it yet. Anyways, just thinking.

#5 Hey Chris... thought I could

Hey Chris... thought I could join in man...Hi Tim...

Really...... It’s just amazing what coffee has got to offer to all of us!!! We’re definitely in an awesome industry!!! Indeed that natural turned out really clean and super sugary....
Actually the more we play down here with those naturals every harvest, the better understanding we are getting from them... It for sure is risky business but hey... If you nail it down you can get some super good stuff out of them... As Chris and Tom mentioned... 1,300 - 1,400 for El Salvador Bourbon is still 200 to 300 mts below the highest for here. But this coffee turned out very rich and still delicate... We actually also have been trying the natural process on some HG coffees, from 1,000 to 1,100 mts also with Bourbon... The depth and chocolate notes, along with the cane sugar juice flavors make it a really awesome candidate for S/O, specially because there is not much acidity there... Just like the three way process Manzano SHG Experimental Microlot SweetMaria’s got from us, we did one smaller on a HG coffee, the same coffee but different process... blending those three for S/O espresso is perfect since it’s the same coffee!!!... same day, same plantation, same plot, same everything, but the process.

I completely agree with Tim... actually back in January when that coffee was just pulled from the patios from drying, we roasted it and cupped it right away, and really... I was sort of disappointed at first... But next morning we gave the coffee a second chance on the cupping table... It really developed over night... For sure it got better as it settled... Too much going inside the beans probably...

Another thing we have noticed over the years with the naturals is that they get better with time. The more time the bean is in the dry cherry the more it absorbs the sugars... Can’t leave them forever though... probably not more than 6 months after picked and processed. But actually, if you have to hull it, say... two months after processed... the longer those green beans rest.... the better...

Cool to join you guys here.....


#6 sweet

thanks for joining in, Emilio. That last point you made is pretty interesting. What is the longest amount of time that you have experienced with leaving the coffee in the dried cherry?

#7 El Salvador Naturals

Actually the longest has been a coffee that was harvested in January and hulled by August. Remember that at origin we are always forced to hull and export before the new crop begins. Most of the Naturals we have been doing have ranged from 2 to 6 months in dry cherry before hulling... The ones that are hulled too early we always suggest to keep them in the grain pro bag at least a couple of months before roasting. Usually the Naturals that have little rest turn out a little too bright... That is with SHG's at least....

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