Nestled in the heart of Central America lies a hidden gem in the world of specialty coffee - the El Salvador Tepeca-Chinameca mountain range. Pronounced "Teh-peh-kah Chee-nah-meh-kah," this region is situated in the southeastern part of El Salvador, with altitudes ranging from 1,300 to 2,000 meters above sea level. One interesting fact about this region is that it is home to the Chinameca Volcano, which plays a significant role in the unique taste and quality of the coffee grown here.
Coffee cultivation in the Tepeca-Chinameca mountain range dates back to the late 19th century. The rich volcanic soil, high altitude, and favorable climate conditions in the region provided an ideal environment for coffee plants to thrive. Farmers in the area quickly recognized the potential of this fertile land and began planting coffee, which soon became a primary crop and integral part of the local economy. Over the years, the coffee produced in the Tepeca-Chinameca region has gained a reputation for its distinctive flavor profile and exceptional quality, making it highly sought after by specialty coffee enthusiasts worldwide.
The farming and processing methods employed in the Tepeca-Chinameca region contribute to the unique characteristics of the coffee produced here. Most of the coffee farms in the area are small, family-owned operations that focus on sustainable and eco-friendly practices. Shade-grown coffee is common in the region, which not only promotes biodiversity but also helps to maintain soil health and reduce the impact of climate change.While specific processing methods may vary among individual farmers, the majority of coffee in El Salvador, including the Tepeca-Chinameca region, is processed using the washed method. This involves removing the pulp from the coffee cherry, fermenting the beans in water to remove the remaining mucilage, and then drying them on raised beds or patios. The washed process is known for producing clean, bright, and well-balanced coffees, which is characteristic of the Tepeca-Chinameca offerings.
Coffees from the Tepeca-Chinameca mountain range are renowned for their unique and complex flavor profiles. Due to the volcanic soil and high altitudes, these coffees often exhibit bright acidity and a juicy mouthfeel. Common tasting notes include red fruit, citrus, and floral undertones, complemented by a subtle sweetness reminiscent of caramel or chocolate. The overall cup is well-rounded and balanced, with a lingering, pleasant finish.
Some well-known farms in the Tepeca-Chinameca region include Finca Himalaya, Finca El Carmen, and Finca San Antonio Los Naranjos. These farms have received recognition and awards for their exceptional coffee offerings, further solidifying the reputation of the Tepeca-Chinameca mountain range as a premier coffee-growing region.The El Salvador Tepeca-Chinameca mountain range is a treasure trove of specialty coffee, offering unique and exquisite flavors that are sure to delight coffee aficionados. Its rich history, sustainable farming practices, and distinctive terroir make it a must-try for anyone seeking to explore the diverse world of coffee.