The 6 Best El Salvador Coffee Brands
The Reputation of El Salvador Coffee
El Salvador is a relatively small country that resides within Central America. When it comes to Central American coffee, there is no shortage of competition. Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica all produce more coffee than El Salvador, and each has a respectable reputation. So Where does El Salvador coffee fit in to the Central American scene? Although perhaps not quite as esteemed as some of the neighboring countries, El Salvador too holds a respectable reputation.
El Salvador is an extremely mountainous country, with volcanoes scattered among the elevated terrain. Ideal temperatures, high altitudes, and nutrient rich soils provided by volcanoes all contribute to ideal coffee growing conditions. Despite the small size of El Salvador, there are several different coffee growing regions, as well as number of distinguished coffee flavor profiles. We’ve put together a list of our 6 best El Salvador coffee brands! Any of these options will showcase what El Salvador has to offer.
Here's a quick summary of our best El Salvador coffee brands!
Having troubling deciding? Check out El Manzano for a truly distinguished taste!
El Salvador Coffee Taste Profile
El Salvador coffee is often thought to be on the mellow side of things, especially for Central American coffee. Because of this characteristic, a lot of the beans produced in El Salvador work quite well to balance out coffee blends. This perspective has lead to an unfortunate misrepresentation in the specialty coffee scene. There are many single origin El Salvador coffees available that are far better when enjoyed as a stand alone coffee. You can find intense, complex flavor profiles with a wide variety of flavor notes if you try!
A good, single origin El Salvador coffee is likely to include at least a few of the following characteristics;
El Salvador Coffee Growing Regions
Despite the small size of El Salvador, there are several different coffee growing regions. Each region brings something different to the table, so it’s worth trying out different single origin beans!
Another major contributing factor is elevation. Vast mountainous ranges spread throughout Central America allow for the growth of coffee to occur at high altitudes. High grown coffee benefits from a longer maturation process, leading to a more developed taste profile.
Santa Ana Region
Santa Ana is the third largest city in El Salvador, and is situated in the northwestern region of the country. The Santa Ana coffee growing regions are close to the Guatemalan border. Accordingly, Santa Ana coffees often share some aspects with Guatemalan coffee. This is a good thing, Guatemalan coffee is fantastic! We have, of course, included a couple coffees from Santa Ana in our list.
Santa Ana coffee is often on the sweeter side, frequently containing nut and chocolate notes.
San Miguel Region
Over on the other side of El Salvador, you’ll find San Miguel, the second largest city in the country. This southeastern region is close to the Honduran border. San Miguel plays a crucial role in the agricultural sector of El Salvador. You’ll find a great San Miguel coffee included in our list below!
San Miguel coffee is often complex and bright, containing a variety of fruity notes.
But wait, there's more!
As is the case with most coffee producing countries, there are many smaller, lesser known growing regions. Single estates and smaller subsections of established regions can sometimes offer great and distinguished taste profiles, so it’s worth getting off of the grid a little bit sometimes! Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered in our 6 best El Salvador coffees list!
Pacamara Coffee Beans
Pacamara coffee beans are worth a quick mention. The Pacamara varietal is the result of crossing Pacas and Margogipe varietals. The name, perhaps a little unimaginatively, comes from the first four letters of each of the parent varietals.
So... what does this have to do with El Salvador coffee?
Well, the Pacamara varietal was originally created by the Salvadoran Institute for Coffee Research in 1958! Cool, right? Pacamara coffee is now grown in several different countries, and carries a respectable reputation!
If you'd like to learn more, check out our Pacamara article!
The Best El Salvador Coffee Brands
Without further adieu, here are our 6 best El Salvador coffee beans! We’ve done our best to include a good representation of what El Salvador has to offer. Take a look and see if anything in particular sounds right for you!
1. Santa Ana Coffee
Roasted By: Koffee Cartel
Taste: Rich, notes of chocolate, nuts & spice
First up we have a fantastic dark roast from Santa Ana. An intense, room-filling, spicy aroma will greet you as soon as you open the bag. This coffee is heavy and rich, with prominent notes of chocolate and nuts. The chocolate taste sticks around in the form of a nice, smooth finish. This is a great representation of how good coffee from Santa Ana can be!
2. San Miguel Coffee
Roasted By: Teasia
Taste: Complex, notes of apple, citrus & caramel
Next up we have a wonderful single origin coffee from San Miguel. This coffee is quite complex, managing to balance a number of different characteristics. Fruity and caramel notes, a bright acidity and a honey-toned sweetness all coexist in perfect harmony! Despite the bright bite, this coffee finishes smooth and clean! Eastern El Salvador coffee is well represented by beans from San Miguel.
3. Pacamara Coffee
Roasted By: Buffalo Buck's Coffee
Taste: Sweet, notes of chocolate & fruit
Our list would not be complete without a Pacamara option! This one perfectly showcases why there is such hype surrounding Pacamara coffee. This coffee has an intoxicating floral aroma and naturally sweet taste. Notes of fruit & chocolate are on display, as is a citrus-toned acidity. Despite the vibrant kick, this coffee finish clean, with hints of chocolate. If you have never tried Pacamara coffee, you owe it to yourself!
4. El Manzano Coffee
Roasted By: Topeco Coffee
Taste: Sweet, notes of honey, apple & nuts
El Manzano is an origin that falls within the department of Santa Ana. Another Santa Ana coffee? Yep, but this one is nothing like the first one! This medium roast is naturally sweet, with notes of honey, apple, nuts and a bright, fruity acidity. A pleasant aroma reminiscent of aromatic tobacco distinguishes these beans from many. If you try this coffee and #1 from this list, you'll see the variety that Santa Ana has to offer!
5. El Salvador Peaberry Coffee
Roasted By: Volcanica Coffee
Taste: Rich & sweet, floral and nutty notes
These peaberry beans come from the small region of Santa Barbara. Peaberries are thought to produce a highly concentrated flavor. If you have any concerns about an El Salvador coffee being too mellow for you, this is your solution! This coffee is rich and sweet, with prominent floral and nutty notes. If you're a peaberry enthusiast, add this to your must-try list!
6. Santa Maria Coffee
Roasted By: Cubico Coffee
Taste: Complex, notes of fruit, caramel & chocolate
Last, but certainly not least, we have Santa Maria coffee. These beans take the name of the farm in which they are grown, which is at the top of a mountain in the micro region of Portero Grande, Santa Ana. Again, yes, Santa Ana offers a huge variety. Notes of fruit, caramel, chocolate, a brown sugar-toned sweetness and a bright, citrus-toned acidity all contribute to this complex profile. Multiple cups are a must in order to fully appreciate everything that is going on here!
And there you have it. Hopefully one of these El Salvador coffees has caught your interest!
What is your favorite El Salvador coffee? Have we omitted an essential from our list? Let us know!
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