This archive records all of the coffees that have recently been available through Melbourne Coffee Merchants. Click on each coffee to learn more about these coffees.
Country: EL SALVADOR
Region: Apaneca-Ilamatepec Mountain Region
Town: Santa Ana
Altitude: 1650m above sea level
Variety: Red Bourbon, Orange Bourbon
Owner: Juan Jose Ernesto Menendez Arguello
Ernesto is a fourth-generation coffee grower who took over the running of Finca Alaska at just 18 years of age. He is a highly skilled cupper and has been a national judge for Cup of Excellence several times. The farm is located an hour's drive from the city of Santa Ana, on the northwest slopes of the Santa Ana volcano, one of El Salvador's prime coffee-growing regions. Ernesto strives to maintain a good balance here between areas planted out with coffee, and the existing surrounding environment, which is home to a rich variety of animal species (including armadillos, snakes, squirrels, agouti, deer, hawks, and colourful torogoz and oriole birds). The coffee is shade-grown under a canopy of native trees, including pepeto peludo, gravileo, cypress and copalchi trees, which offer protection from the sun and provide a heavy, nutrient-rich leaf fall. The farm's red and orange Bourbon varietals produce extremely fine and distinctive coffees, with a bright acidity and a huge range of flavour and fragrance characteristics.
The coffee at Finca Alaska is harvested with extreme care, only perfectly ripe cherries are used, and post-harvest cherry selection is always done at the farm to eliminate any remaining immature beans or dry pods. The coffee is then processed at San Carlos farm, which Ernesto inherited from his father in 1995. Here again, Ernesto enforces strict quality control, beginning with the de-pulping of the cherries within a few hours of harvest. The wet parchment is then dropped into tanks where it remains for ten to twelve hours until it reaches the adequate point of fermentation. The coffee is washed with clean fresh water to remove the mucilage, and dried in the sun on cement patios for ten to twelve days until it reaches 12% humidity.
Finca Alaska employs four permanent workers and provides work for a further 30 people during harvest time. Ernesto pays his workers a substantially higher wage than the local average. He says that, as a result, his team of workers is more motivated and committed; an attitude reflected in the continued improvement in the quality of Alaska's coffee.
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