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El Salvador - AMA Cafe - Las Mercedes

June 2010
Combined

This will be a combined review, both of us having received samples. For a description of Bob and Jim's evaluation procedure, see our reference page.

We are reviewing a coffee from El Salvador's AMA CAFE Las Mercedes Estate. Formerly, in July of 2007, we reviewed another fine coffee produced by the same management team (Finca Santa Maria), a coffee of which we thought very highly. This coffee is equally excellent and won't disappoint those who were fortunate enough to try the "Las Marias Premium".

Both of these Estates, Santa Maria and Las Mercedes are located side by side at the San Salvador Volcano northwest of the city of San Salvador in El Salvador. The estates have been under the care of the Aguilar family for over 150 years.

The sample reviewed here is a 100% Bourbon lot. The green preparation and color is flawless, and the screen size is 17+ for over three quarters of the beans. In other words, this is a lot prepped to the very highest standards, suitable for competition or auction.

The roaster yielded very evenly roasted beans, beans that are extremely consistent in color and nearly chaffless, again, indicating a very high level of bean preparation. The aromas at first crack of an almond or marzipan tart baking in the oven, is a hallmark of the very best Bourbons.

These impressions are confirmed in the cup and as the cup cools, a demi-glace or somewhat savory flavor becomes more and more prominent. There is a very slight hint of astringency in the finish but it does not diminish the overall quality of the cup.

At darker roasts, the flavor becomes smokier and nuttier, but hints of the demi-glace and melon remain.

Overall, this coffee is superb, and beautifully suited for either drip or SO espresso. There are slight hints of astringency but the combination of flavors is so unique that it is well worth trying.

Bob’s Cupping Scores

Dry Fragrance (1-5):

4.3

Wet Aroma (1-5):

4.4

Flavor/Taste/Depth (1-10):

8.3

Finish/Aftertaste (1-10):

7.5

Brightness/Acidity (1-10):

7.9

Body/Movement/Mouth-Feel (1-10):

7.8

TOTAL (subtotal + 50)

90.2

Jim’s Cupping Scores

Dry Fragrance (1-5):

4.3

Wet Aroma (1-5):

4.4

Flavor/Taste/Depth (1-10):

8.1

Finish/Aftertaste (1-10):

7.6

Brightness/Acidity (1-10):

8.1

Body/Movement/Mouth-Feel (1-10):

7.9

TOTAL (subtotal + 50)

90.4

  • Lighter Roasts: Bourbon done Kenya style: melons, almond, and demiglace.
  • Darker Roasts: Beautiful mix of toasted nuts and smoke emerge.
  • As Espresso: Slightly light bodied, but the astonishing flavors are perfectly balanced for shots. One of the best SOs of the year.

 

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UPDATED: August 30, 2009