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!

The Coffee

Available As...


Volcanica El Salvador Peaberry Coffee

Roast: Medium

Taste: Rich, sweet, with nut and floral notes

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Santa Ana

El Salvador Santa Ana Coffee Whole Bean

Roast: Dark

Taste: Rich, notes of nut, chocolate & spice

San Miguel

El Salvador San Miguel Coffee Whole Bean

Roast: Medium

Taste: Complex, notes of apple, citrus and caramel


El Salvador Pacamara Coffee

Roast: Medium

Taste: Sweet, notes of chocolate & fruit

El Manzano

El Salvador El Manzano Coffee Whole Bean

Roast: Medium

Taste: Sweet, notes of honey, apple and nuts

Santa Maria

El Salvador Santa Maria Coffee Whole Bean

Roast: Medium

Taste: Complex, notes of fruit, caramel & chocolate

Having troubling deciding? You can't go wrong with Volcanica's Peaberry beans!

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;

  • Notes of nuts, chocolate, caramel & fruit are common
  • Sweet, good body, sometimes quite complex
  • Acidity can range from mild & mellow to bright and vibrant
  • Fragrances & aromas are often intensely sweet
  • A sweetness reminiscent of honey or brown sugar is common

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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!

El Salvador Volcano

One of the many volcanoes of El Salvador!

El Salvador Coffee History

The history of coffee in El Salvador is deeply intertwined with the country's economy and social development. Coffee cultivation in El Salvador began in the 19th century and quickly became a significant agricultural industry. The country's fertile volcanic soils, favorable climate, and suitable altitudes provided ideal conditions for coffee cultivation. Coffee production initially started in the western part of the country, particularly in the regions around Santa Ana and Sonsonate.

In the mid-19th century, coffee production in El Salvador began to expand rapidly. The government supported coffee cultivation through policies that encouraged landowners to grow coffee and export it as a cash crop. Coffee became a crucial driver of the Salvadoran economy and quickly became one of the country's main exports.

The growth of coffee production led to the emergence of large coffee estates, known as "fincas," and a plantation model of agriculture. The fincas employed a significant number of laborers, many of whom were Indigenous or of mixed Indigenous and European heritage. This system, similar to other coffee-producing countries in Central America, shaped the social and economic landscape of El Salvador.

During the 20th century, coffee remained a central part of the Salvadoran economy. The industry faced challenges such as market fluctuations, natural disasters, and political instability, which affected coffee production and exports. However, coffee continued to be a vital export crop and an essential source of revenue for the country.

In the latter half of the 20th century, El Salvador's coffee industry underwent changes and challenges due to shifts in the global coffee market. The country's coffee sector faced increased competition from other coffee-producing nations and fluctuations in coffee prices.

In recent years, El Salvador has focused on promoting specialty coffee production and improving coffee quality. Efforts have been made to support smallholder farmers and cooperatives, promoting sustainable farming practices, and strengthening the traceability of coffee from farm to cup.

Coffee tourism has also gained popularity in El Salvador, with visitors having the opportunity to explore coffee farms, learn about the coffee production process, and experience the culture surrounding coffee in the country.

Coffee continues to be an integral part of Salvadoran culture, and the coffee industry supports the livelihoods of many families in rural communities. El Salvador's commitment to sustainability, quality improvement, and direct trade relationships has contributed to the resilience and growth of its coffee sector.

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. El Salvador Peaberry Coffee

Roasted By: Volcanica Coffee

Volcanica El Salvador Peaberry Coffee

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Roast: Medium

Taste: Rich, sweet, with nut and floral 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 & sweet, with prominent floral & nutty notes. If you're a peaberry enthusiast, add this to your must-try list!

Drip, Espresso & French Press Grinds available.

Not available as single serve

2. Santa Ana Coffee

Roasted By: Koffee Kartel

Roast: Dark

Taste: Rich, notes of chocolate, nuts & spice

This fantastic dark roast comes from Santa Ana. An intense, room-filling, spicy aroma will greet you as soon as you open the bag. This coffee is heavy & rich, with prominent notes of chocolate & 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!

Not available as single serve

3. San Miguel Coffee

Roasted By: Teasia

Roast: Medium

Taste: Complex, notes of apple, citrus and 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 & 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.

Not available as ground coffee

Not available as single serve

4. Pacamara Coffee

Roasted By: Buffalo Buck's Coffee

Roast: Medium

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!

Not available as ground coffee

Not available as single serve

5. El Manzano Coffee

Roasted By: Topeco Coffee

Roast: Medium

Taste: Sweet, notes of honey, apple and 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!

Not available as ground coffee

Not available as single serve

6. Santa Maria Coffee

Roasted By: Cubico Coffee

Roast: Medium

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!

Not available as single serve

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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