El Salvador Finca Manzano, 3 Way Processing Experiment

El Salvador Finca Manzano, 3 Way Processing Experiment

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 they introduced us to this really exciting and unique opportunity to look at El Manzano's coffee processing experiments. While total production is around 700,000 lbs, the Beneficio has been built to carefully handle small lots, and in this case offer 3 different processing methods of the same coffee.

This 100% Bourbon varietal was all harvested from the same plot , on the same 2 days, the 14th and 15th of February 2011, and then processed using three different methods: Mechanical Washed Process (with a Pinhalense demucilager), Pulp Natural, and Full Natural (Dry Process). The coffee was brought to the Beneficio after harvest and then through a cleverly designed receiving station was separated to go to either the pulper and then tanks, or the demucilager and then to patio drying, or straight to the drying patios (after a careful cleansing and sorting of the whole fruit). Tom, Josh Housh, and myself (ces) were there on the 14th and 15th and were fortunate to be able to observe Emilio's syphon cherry sorter in action and see this particular coffee go through these 3 processes and then make it on to the patio (as well as perform some other experiments with pectinase and mucilage removal - http://tinyurl.com/6dr7tsr).

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. In this experiment, Emilio Lopez Diaz (the VP of CuatroM), wanted to get as clear a picture as possible of the difference processing method makes. We are offering this experiment in a bundle of each of the three processes 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. Watch how each process reacts leading up to and during the first crack: the washed coffee (and the pulp natural to a slightly lesser extent) seem to resist the crack and need a little more of a push, while the full natural moves into the crack and it was vital not to let it run away. This year, the coffee that was used for these experiments was harvested from a Tablon at a higher altitude than last year's experimental lots: Tablon 4B La Cascajera at 1450-1500 meters.

This coffee is part of our Farm Gate pricing program.

Cupping Notes

Machine Washed (MW) - Orange/citrus on the dry aroma, some almond and orange on the darker roasts. Honey sweetness on the wet aroma and break with bright lemon notes and more of the almond on the drkr roast. Sweet and clean, with slight vanilla character when warm. As the cup cools there's some pear and lemon and the continued honey sweetness. This coffee cools very nicely with lemon citrus with a bit of a cardamom, the totally cool cup very much reminded me of a belgian wit bier. The acidity really holds up and I added points as it cooled more and more, but I have to say that it did not hold up to the darker roasts. While the aroma and warm cup had a pleasant almond note, that note took on a more harsh quality as the cup cooled. On the second day out of the roaster, there is still great definition in this cup. City+ is probably ideal here. - Score: 86.4

Pulp Natural (PN) - Raisin and spice on the dry aroma, more spice on the darker roast. Rich wild honey on the break with some berry traces. The sweetness has definitely intensified, and there's a light syrup quality to the mouthfeel and a longer, sweeter finish. The fruit is more apple and melon than lemon and pear, and even a bit more like a cider. There's a muddled quality (like fruit and spices or botanicals in a cocktail) in the cup, but it's sweet and it's not a dirty quality. The second day out of the roaster, this quality also supports a candied nuttiness. I found a similar attribute in the PN last year, especially in comparison to the MW. This coffee was really similar in the range of roasts, a bit more spice and chocolate notes in the darker roasts but with a similar acidity and relationship between the acidity and the body. This coffee is very much about sweetness and mouthfeel and can produce some nice SO espresso as well as being a great component in an espresso blend. This coffee scored a bit higher due to intensified sweetness, but some cuppers might knock it for having less clarity than the MW. - Score: 86.8

Dry Process (Natural, DP or NP) - Potent berry notes on the dry aroma, with just a bit of carob which gave it an earthy nuttiness. The drkr roasts are sweeter chocolate laced with blueberry. The break shows the chocolate, berry, and carob fully realized. The warm cup has a certain breadiness to it with some malt sweetness paired with the chocolate notes. The fruit is prominent throughout the cup. There's blue and blackberry in the front of the palate and then black cherry and plum in a long syrupy finish. This was the best of the 3 at a darker roast, dark fruit and dark chocolate, should be an excellent component in an espresso blend or as an SO shot. Very impressed with the "stability" of the fruity Natural Processed character, from hot to cold it stayed consistent except for growing a bit sweeter with just a bit of the nutty earthiness to give it some texture. On day 2, there's more huckleberry in the finish, and perfumy flower like a plumeria. For complexity and for this stability this was the highest scorer of the 3. - Score: 87.5


see individual scores

Lot Size

7 69KG Bags of Each Lot

Roast Recommendations

City and City+ for the Machine Washed, but the Pulped Natural and Full Natural have some complex sweetness at FC and FC+


Other (see review)



Grade & Appearance

.2 defects per 300 grams, 17-18 screen


Shipped to us in GrainPro
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This coffee has sold out. The review is provided for reference purposes only.

Emilio Lopez Diaz, CuatroM

Cleaned and sorted, Natural process ready for the patio

Cart full of demucilaged coffee

3 processes on the patio


#1 Good cupping experiment

Just wanted to say thanks to Chris for coming down and cupping this with some of my crew. Really enjoyed seeing how processing adds layers and what type of layers come with it. I think this was a very valuable session for some of my people to understand coffee on a different level. It raises awareness to all the complexity that goes into each cup.

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