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El Salvador "Cerro las Renas" Pulped Natural Processed

May 24, 2005
Jim Schulman

El Salvador's coffee industry was nearly wiped out in the eighties and nineties; before that it was known more for its commodity coffees. Now they have restarted their industry to fill some empty niches in the specialty market; especially the one for high grown coffees sweet and mellow enough for espresso. El Salvador fills this niche with "Pulped Natural" coffees. In this preparation, the skin of the coffee cherry is removed, but the pulp is allowed to dry on the bean prior to being removed. When compared to skin-on dry processing, this speeds the drying enough to avert excessive fermentation. When compared to the wet processing customary for Central America, it produces extra sweetness, more subdued acidity (and taste in the cup), and a bean suitable for espresso. I've been looking forward to trying El Salvadoran Pulped Naturals and finding out how well they fulfill this promise. This coffee was roasted to 432F in 10 1/2 minutes, first crack starting at 393F.

This is a mild tasting coffee, more like a Colombian or Brazil than a Central. But the flavor is pure El Salvador, like drinking a baked pear tart made with a touch of nuts and allspice. The aroma is the same. The cup has medium body and low to medium acidity. The pulp dry process adds an enormous amount of sweetness which exhibits with a touch of molasses flavor.

All these taste qualities make it unchanged to the espresso shot. It is, if anything, too sweet, and has a sugar finish that lasts for over an hour. If you ever wanted straight espresso as a comfort food, this is the bean for you. It will also make a fabulous blending base for coffees lacking in sweetness. Keep the roasts lighter than a rolling second, or woody and molasses notes will overwhelm the pear flavor.

Aroma: 6.0
Flavor: 7.0
Finish: 8.0
Acidity: 6.0
Body: 7.5
TOTAL (subtotal + 50) 84.5

  • Lighter Roasts: Pear and almond tart.
  • Darker Roasts: Molasses flavors become more prominent. Some harshness beyond a rolling 2nd
  • As Espresso: Comfort food SO. Great blend base because it's sweet.


UPDATED: June 27, 2005