Week 5: Harvest 2012 - 2013: First Natural, Pulp Natural for Water Avenue Coffee, and cupping the Acaia

Another week has flown by, and we could not be more excited for the level we are at during this period of the harvest. Operating at full capacity, the cycle of harvest has truly begun to take shape, and while things happen quickly and a lot is on the line daily; there is really no other way we'd prefer to operate. 

Like a roaster and his multiple batches of a production roast, or a cafe at rush hour, there is a rhythm to harvest that moves with excitement, and we desire to take full advantage of it while it lasts, because it will be over before we know it. 



If full patios are not the biggest indication of peak harvest, the four mechanical driers  operating simultaneously for the entire week, is. And almost like clockwork, as one batch exits the dryer and enters the warehouse, another is completing it's pre-drying on the patios and ready to be loaded. 

Clear skies and bright sun have been a huge help to the smooth operation over the passed weeks, as they help to create a consistency of production. And we almost begin to realize why the native people of El Salvador, worshiped a god of the sun, 'Kinich Ahua,' as we ourselves realize its importance in our day to day functions; and while we don't take part in any rituals here at El Manzano, we do pause for photographs and are thankful for every morning we see it rising into blue skies over the mill. 

Clear weather has also made it possible for us to begin processing natural early in the harvest. It is usually not until January that we see the kind of consistency of clear skies, that make it possible to spread cherries onto the patios for several days, however, with this kind of weather and sun, we were able to process our first natural of the harvest, leaving it three days on the patio before loading it into the horizontal drum dryer to finish the cycle. 


Pulp Natural for Water Avenue 

One of the most exciting stories of last harvest, was the night Brandon Smyth of Water Avenue (Port. OR), stayed at El Manzano, and mentioned his favorite processing method had been the Pulp Natural Process. On the spot, Emilio had the machines adjusted to do so, and the entire batch of El Manzano for the day met it's destiny; becoming one of the favorite batches of the harvest, to ourselves, as well as many visitors after who cupped that sample on the table. 

Continuing another year, working alongside everyone at Water Avenue, we were able to process our first exclusive batch of the harvest, from Finca Ayutepeque, again, via the Pulp Natural Process method. It now rests on the patios to await drying, and we hope to continue posting photos of its development from the tan colored wet parchment, to the beautiful and bright orange colored honey, that almost glows from the patio. 



With six total experiments already recorded this harvest, we had one of our best moments of the harvest this past Thursday, cupping the Four Way Process Experiment with the Acaia variety. 

Each of the cups carried its own unique flavor to the table, the Natural showing its bright fruit aroma right out of the grinder to the flavors of blueberry and graham cracker in its finish. The pulp natural was Emilio's favorite, displaying a similar fruit aroma, but a complexity on the cup profile that we all agreed gave it a completeness unlike any of the others. The washed coffees, (machine and ferment), likewise displayed a complexity, but solid, true to form, body and acidity in the cup; favorites of Diego, our production manager. 

For that cupping, we were able to host Mauricio Salaverria at the mill, and enjoyed getting his feedback on the coffees. With still enough parchment and dried cherry for two more cuppings, we look forward to seeing what rest will do for each of the coffees. 

In closing, we could not be more stoked for how the harvest is playing out. We'd love to share more information with you, regarding the specifics of what we write about here, and as always, are open to questions and possible visits from any of our readers. Feel free to drop us an email or facebook message. 

From Week 5 of Harvest at El Manzano, cheers.