Valiente: Power UP – El Salvador


collaborative process between West Oak and Finca Colomba, the anaerobic fermentation achieves new levels of complexity and sweetness.

The silky smooth body surfs over your palate like melted butter, cascading new layers with every wave. Hibiscus followed by blackberry followed by black cherry followed by subtly floral white tea which dissipates into a cross between peanut butter and nougat–candy.  It’s freaking candy.

Cup Score: 90

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This coffee is nothing short of super–Mario having 1 up’d himself yet again.  A
We get a little misty-eyed when talking about this coffee, and not just because Power UP nods at those iconic Misty Valley-esque flavors that made all of us crazy for coffee the first time we tasted them.  It’s because coffees like these coming from farms like Finca Colomba in countries like El Salvador at lower altitudes such as 1400 meters above sea level is nothing short of game-changing.  The C market may ebb-and-flow peaking at “somewhat sustainable”, but C market will soon be irrelevant for farms who can effectively implement masterful post-harvest processing such as this anaerobic fermentation process cultivated from our Direct Trade relationship with Mario Valiente and his farm, Finca Colomba.

Our chief green buyer, Nick Stevens, and Don Mario worked together to perfect a controlled fermentation on the coffee cherries pre-drying that boosts fruit acidity and sugars.  It requires careful monitoring.  Cherries can move quickly from the desired enhanced ripeness to rotting fruit that no one will enjoy.  If done well, what you taste in this coffee is the result.  A common variety at an unremarkable altitude would generally yield a middling good-not-great cup of coffee.  Instead we experience one of the best cups of the season.  Having a delicious cup of coffee in the morning may lift one to a state of brief euphoria and relaxation, but that’s not the breath-taking takeaway here.

What moves us is the potential for a revolutionary era of coffee where specialty grade is achievable on a multiplicity of varieties at most all farms with a greater range of altitudes without having to re-seed the farm.  To re-seed, a producer loses profits on that land for about 5 years in addition to the investment in labor and resources to flip the farm.  This risk is far to great when you add in the unpredictable nature of… well… nature (weather and disease).  The ability to attain 6-10 point increase in cup score without a 5 year investment in expensive seed means that we can use naturally disease resistant, high yielding varieties and still achieve similar cup scores, thus bringing actual sustainability and increased financial viability for the second most traded commodity behind oil.

We need a moment.

Grower: Mario Valiente at Colomba Estate
Country: El Salvador
Region: Santa Ana
Altitude: 1400M
Process: Anaerobic
Variety: Bourbon (boor-BŌN)
Harvest: 2019
Tasting Notes: Hibiscus, blackberry, black cherry, rose, white tea, peanut butter, nougat.