Finca El Carmen
The estate was founded in the middle of the 19th century when Antonio José Alfaro acquired a plot of land near the village of Ataco – meaning ‘Site of Elevated Springs’ in the indigenous Nahuatl language – where he started to produce coffee. His son, Agustin Alfaro, founder of the Salvadoran National Coffee Company, followed in his father’s footsteps and established El Carmen as one of El Salvador’s leading exporters. His efforts were continued by Antonio Alfaro, head of the third generation of this coffee family and are carried through today by Fernando Alfaro, the fourth generation of his family to farm coffee.
El Carmen is a well-run specialty estate and is managed with scrupulous attention to detail, with great emphasis placed on maintaining the identity of each lot from the moment its coffee cherries are harvested until the point when the green beans are ready for export. The estate’s coffee is produced under approximately 60% shade cover, which is required for the coffee to ripen evenly. Before the rainy season, shade trees are then pruned to about 40% shade to allow the access of light necessary for new foliage growth.
El Salvador is the smallest of the Central American nations, but do not let its diminutive size fool you. It produces exceptional coffees to a consistently high standard.
The history of coffee in El Salvador is inextricably linked to the development of the nation, itself. Introduced in the late 1880’s, coffee quickly displaced indigo as the country’s chief export, and by the 1920s, coffee accounted for 90% of all El Salvador’s exports.
Despite its small size, the country is efficient and able to maintain high yields thanks to the dedication of producers and the ideal climates for coffee production.