So our last full day in El Salvador. El Bourbollon is a coffee we have socked a few times (and will again soon) but a coffee I’ve struggled to understand. You see its not one farm but a collection owned in part by the beneficio(mill) owner Edwardo Alvarez which is called Bourbollon.
First we were given a tour of the mill and the process of coffee arriving being milled packed then stored. Unfortunately our new crop La Fany (El Bourbollon also mill for Siberia and La Fany) had just (two days before) been shipped to the UK. I would have loved to see our sacks with our markings to inspect them before they leave but not to be
I was not so good today, and feeling quite unwell. So when it came to a cupping they had organized I had to bow out as when I’m sick I jut cant cope with any coffee. The rest of the team tell me it was fantastic coffee. Lots of different varietals and different grades much fun was had.
We then left to visit two of the farms that are part of the El Bourbollon group El Cero & La Reforma. Still not at my best I didn’t get as much out of it as I might have being fighting fit. But sharing a 4 x 4 with Edwardo was fantastic and his English is so good. He also likes english football, so we had lots to to talk about but as a liverpool fan we didn’t agree too much. Other good things on the trip we went through the famous Finca Kilimanjaro owned by Aida Batlle, which was a nice surprise. I also saw another passed through another farm we used to buy from but haven’t seen for a while.
So before we set back Edwardo invites us to go back to his home for a beer or two and some time to unwind and relax. I’m not sure what my expectations I had, but nothing prepared me for the paradise he lives in. The next time anyone asks me if we buy fair trade coffee I’m just going to show them this guys holiday home and let them decide if we pay ok.
I dont think this is a bad thing at all, in fact a very good thing, if you do a good job then you should be rewarded. Edwardo has built a very successful business and is rewarded from his hard work like everyone else in the world coffee produces should make great money.
I know this isn’t typical of what producers have but it shows what is possible with the right product. Its a great model to look at and say with good coffee the rewards can come.
So more time on a bus for most back to San Salvador but I was again lucky to spend some more time with Edwardo in his car, chatting with two others and me it was a real pleasure. The peope make these trips thats for sure.
The evening I’m feeling much better thanks to magic medicine from Edwardo. Apparently its quite normal for visitors to find the food “difficult” and he always has some ready for such occasions. The last supper was a great meal with some people from the Consejo and Edwardo and his son Juan Antonio, who was telling me about his Crystal Palace friend from england.
I’ve really enjoyed El Salvador, but more so the people. Its an amazing place, and by far the most advanced central/ South American country I’ve visited so far (even more so that Guatamala in my opinion). But the good news is I think the coffee industry there has done a lot of it themselvies. I wrote a post a while back (link here) about what a good job they have been doing and they are reaping the rewards. Meeting people like Roberto Bendana and Louis Rodriguez from the Consejo makes me understand mcu hbetter whop drives this kind of change and who imparts the knowledge to producers of what the specialty market desires.
Early tomorrow we leave for Nicaragua via Honduras, an eight hour drive, then a mill to visits. Tomorrows post will not be as long. Also it may not get posted for a few days as I’m expecting a not so good internet connection for the next few days.