El Salvador

Capital: San Salvador

Area: 21,156 square kilometers

Population: 6.29 million

Language: Spanish

Currency: US Dollar

Annual Production: 37,400 tons

Coffee Producing Area: 152,000 hectares

Producing Regions: Mountain ranges of Alotepeque, Nahuaterque, Cacahuatique, Tecapa, El Balsamo, Apaneca Ilamatepec, Chichontepec

Coffee Varietals: Bourbon, Pacas, Pacamara, Tekisec [Salvadorian Bourbon]

Terrain: Two main mountain ranges, central plateau and coastal plains

Altitude: 800-1500 MASL

Soil: Highly fertile red soil due to volcanic lava decomposition

Harvest: November-March

Extra Info: Coffee was first grown in El Salvador in the 19th century mainly for domestic consumption. In its early days, coffee was considered too time and resource demanding when compared to indigo, the main export crop. Over time as world demand for coffee grew, the industry boomed. Road and rail infrastructure was built, ensuring coffee moved from the growing areas to the main ports quickly. By the early 70’s, El Salvador had one of the world’s most efficient coffee industries, ranking among the highest producers. By the 80’s, civil unrest and conflict put the industry into decline. Since then El Salvador has had to battle the effects of the GFC and intense competition from its coffee growing neighbours.

Most of El Salvador’s coffee is farmed in the mountainous regions and shade grown. Bourbon is the dominant varietal and the country began developing Tekisic, a process that started in 1949 and released in 1977. The name? A combination of a local word ‘teketi’ meaning work and ISIC, the acronym for the Salvadorian Institute for Coffee Research.  Pacas and Pacamara are also popular, growing between 600 and 1000 plus MASL.