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El Salvador Las Nubes SHG

July 13, 2005
Bob Yellin

This coffee was cupped blind, side-by-side with another recent Salvador arrival and a control sample. It was roasted twice: first to a “city” or light level and then again, to the first pop of second crack. It was rested for about 8 hours prior to formal cupping, and 2 days prior to brewing and pulling espresso shots. For more information on my roaster and method, see our reference page.

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America and coffee production can be found in five geographical areas. Finca Las Nubes is located in the Western-most growing region where about 2/3 of the coffee crop consists of heirloom Bourbon Arabica beans. Most of it is shade-grown in rich volcanic soil and the best of it is SHG-classified (Strictly High Grown), yielding a mild "classic" cup profile with good acidity.

This coffee fits that description quite closely. It's grown at about 6000 ft. and in the cup it's mildly aromatic and exceptionally clean. After a light roast, it's medium-bodied with a delicate floral aroma and a “classic coffee” flavor. It becomes fuller-bodied when roasted to "full-city" and flavors change to a toasty dark-chocolate.

There is a nutty backdrop to the flavor profile that remains consistent through the different roast levels and beverage temperatures, and it is slightly bitter-sweet for a Central, especially after a darker roast. I enjoyed it most as a brewed drink: as a vac pot and a French press. It lacked sweetness as a cappuccino and lacked complexity, as a SO espresso; but this is not a criticism; these types of coffees are usually brewed rather than being used as SO espresso shots.

Dry Fragrance: 4.2
Wet Aroma: 4.2
Flavor: 7.4
Finish: 7.2
Acidity: 7.3
Body: 7.6
TOTAL (subtotal + 50) 87.9

  • Lighter Roasts: The best way to enjoy this coffee (perhaps half-way between 1st and second crack for a balance between the floral quality and the nutty chocolate).
  • Darker Roasts: Delicate floral qualities disappear and roasty dark chocolate dominates.
  • As Espresso: Not recommended as SO straight shot.


UPDATED: June 27, 2005