We taste: dulce de leche, red apple, lime zest, jasmine and spiced honey
Producer: Roberto Ulloa
Region: Palo Campana, Santa Ana, El Salvador
Elevation: 1,600-1,950 masl
Varietal: Orange Bourbon
On his Finca La Divina Providencia, Roberto Ulloa is growing some of the finest and most sought-after coffees currently coming out of El Salvador. Roberto comes from a generations-long coffee producing family that historically produced high-volume coffees on lower altitude farms.
Roberto takes a different approach with his mission to produce the absolute best coffee possible. Instead of focusing on higher volume, low-altitude coffees he began acquiring small-high altitude farms on the side of the Santa Ana Volcano. Finca La Divina Providencia sits at 1600-1950m above sea level and is planted in heirloom varietals under a heavy shade canopy. This, in conjunction with his sustainable production methods and extreme attention to detail in both cultivation and post-harvest processing, results in coffees that paint a clear picture of the full potential of Salvadoran coffee.
These are coffees that are untainted by the drive to produce higher volumes. They instead receive Roberto’s full and unwavering attention and are the product of his single-minded goal of producing low volumes of the very best coffees possible.
Roberto’s work is paying off. He won first place in the 2020 El Salvador Cup of Excellence and had 2 coffees place in the top 10 in 2023. The vast majority of Roberto’s coffees go to Asia, Europe and the UK so we are super stoked to have picked some coffees up directly through him and also through an auction that he hosted through coffee auctioneer M-Cultivo.
This specific lot is a honey processed Orange Bourbon. It is a 100 pound lot that we bought through the auction. In the cup we are finding notes of dulce de leche, lime zest, jasmine and red apple complemented by a creamy, round body and a lingering spiced honey aftertaste.
When we visited with Roberto at the end of last year, as soon as we hopped into his Land Cruiser in San Salvador and started talking with him on the drive up to the farm we knew this dude was different and that he was on to something. The energy of someone who is laser focused on producing or doing something great is typically immediately felt. As we bounced up the narrow, rutted dirt roads that are carved into the side of the Santa Ana volcano the landscape is green everywhere and is studded with bright pops of tropical flowers. Driving through the dense forest just before reaching the farm a clearing provides a breathtaking view of the cobalt blue waters of Lago de Coatepeque, the 200-meter-deep crater lake, some 1000 meters below.
Pulling into the farm, mist shrouds the surrounding peaks while whisps of low-hanging clouds drift through the small valley that is home to the wooden farmhouse and raised coffee drying beds. A walk through the farm reveals almost perfect, dark green coffee shrubs growing under a dense canopy of shade and fruit trees. The clouds surround us as we walk through the coffee forest and slowly find our way back to the house. Just as quickly as they appeared, the clouds break and reveal azure skies and thickly forested, verdant green mountainsides as we sit for coffee on the front porch. Roberto tells us that on the farm the weather can change 30 times a day.
We spent the afternoon talking with Roberto about his vision for coffee and his land while walking the farm and checking out its many different lots that are primarily separated by varietal. Lot after lot revealed close to perfect coffee shrubs growing in a balanced ecosystem. Roberto's passion for his coffee and his farm is absolutely apparent in his words, the work he does on his farm and the quality of coffee in the cup.
Hario V60 Pour Over
This pour over recipe highlights the clean, sweetness of the coffee. Look for sweet notes of chocolate covered caramel candies (Rollos) and spiced raw honey. Comfort in a cup!
Coffee: 25 grams
Grind size: 3 on the Fellow Ode (medium-fine)
Water: 360 grams at 200˚F
Coffee to Water/Ice Ratio: 1:14.4
Brew Time: 2:30
1. Rinse filter
2. Place brewer on top of carafe, start timer and saturate grounds with 75g water. Stir.
3. Let bloom 30 seconds.
4. Slowly add 225g water to a total of 300g. At 2:00, swirl brewer and let water draw down.
5. Total brew time should be around 2:30.
6. Remove brewer from carafe and add 60g fresh, hot water to the brewed coffee.
6. Swirl carafe, serve and enjoy.
The rich, dessert-like qualities of this coffee make it perfect for espresso extraction. Look for a decadent, milk-chocolate and caramel sweetness, a fresh citrus acidity and an elegantly spiced finish.
Coffee in: 18g
Coffee out: 40g
Extraction time: 40 seconds
Espresso tips: if your extraction is too intense or sour, try pulling at a wider ratio (go with 42g out instead of 40). If the extraction is weak, bitter or ashy try pulling a tighter ratio (try 38g out instead of 40).