Finca San Salvador is another farm operated by producer Luis Emilio Valladarez (also operates Finca Buenos Aires another coffee we purchased this year). Finca San Salvador came under his direction and ownership about 2 years ago now, thriving from his expertise and leadership and actually placed top 30 at last year's Cup of Excellence competition. It is located in the Dipilto area, in an area with a pleasant microclimate, with ample sun that lends itself to the honey processing method. Honey processing involves a mechanical removal of both the cherry and some of the fruit pulp layer too. There is no use of fermentation here, only very little water during the demucilage process. Honey processing is a lot like what is referred to as "pulp natural" processing, a method introduced in Brazil long ago, the main difference being that the mechanical demucilagers used for honeys can be adjusted to leave all, some, or practically no fruit behind on the coffee. Because of the added layer of pulp on the seed, drying times tend to be a bit longer than fully washed coffees, and so ideally are achieved in an area that gets ample sun and less frequent rains. The result is often a somewhat fruited cup, much more rounded acidity, and body. It also affects the way the coffee roasts to a degree, and this lot can definitely take a bit of heat up front during the drying phase, and produces a considerable amount of chaff during the cracking stage.
The dry fragrance has a cereal-like scent, especially at a City+ roast level. There's a smell of sweet, toasted grains, along with hints of dried fruits. Full City has a similar appeal, with a bit more emphasis on a cocoa, or even carob, backdrop. The wet aromatics are fruited for sure, but fairly non-descript, more like what I'd describe as pectin-like sweetness. There's ample toasted grain in the aroma here, which also makes it's way into the cup. Brewing a City roast, I was surprised at the level of sweetness that provides a nice base for toasted grain notes, and a welcome lemony acidity adds structure. Full City shows a well-developed sweetness, balancing a presence of baker's cocoa, and a touch of barley malt. San Salvador's body is inky, especially at Full City, and with lasting bittersweetness of burned sugar, raw nibs, and aromatic wood in the finish.