Brian Beyke

Brown Coffee Co - El Salvador Finca El Rosario - Mistobox - July 2014

Brian Beyke


For July’s Mistobox the crew fired up the Mistomobile and took us on a roadtrip around the US.  After picking up Seth in Arizona, our first stop crosses the Lone Star State of Texas and lands us in San Antonio.

The more I drink coffees from El Salvador, like this one we’ll look at today from The Brown Coffee Company, the more I think I can justify making this statement: El Salvador produces some of the most friendly coffees of any drinking region.  It wasn’t so long ago that I said that coffees from here confuse me, leaving it hard for me to categorize their characteristics.  Some are super fruity, several are nutty and more savory, others are juicy and relaxing.  I think through all of this one thread I’ve seen woven through all the offerings is that they are easily approachable whether one is “into” specialty coffee or not.  This region, more than any other aside from Colombia, produces incredibly drinkable coffees in just about any way you like it, with the added bonus of some great cup characteristics that one may experience differently depending on which you pick up.  Today, we sit down with El Salvador Finca El Rosario.

Miguel Menendez and his family have a long coffee tradition. His third generation farms are located in the heart of the golden coffee belt of El Salvador, the Apeneca - Ilamatepec mountain range.   This region is known for fertile volcanic soils, unique microclimates and high elevations offer spectacular growing conditions for coffee and it is reflected in the cup.

The coffee trees grow underneath the forest canopy and is exquisitely prepared in a dedicated mill called Piedra Grande which lies at the foot of the estate ensuring quick processing.  All activities on the farm and mill focus on environmental and social sustainability - natural habitats are preserved, water courses and resources protected, and lengthy measures are undertaken to minimize erosion and waste coffee skins are composted and used for fertilizer.

This single bourbon varietal coffee comes from the Miguel’s El Rosario farm and grows at up to 1350 meters above sea level.  Finca El Rosario is situated in a flat valley nestled between two high mountains. This peculiar typography creates unique growing conditions for the farm and contributes to the sweet, juicy and delicious nature of this coffee.



Roaster: Brown Coffee Company

Region: Santa Ana, El Salvador

Farm: Finca El Rosario

Process: Fully Washed

Varietal: Bourbon

Elevation: 1,350m

Brew Method:

V60 no stir | 14g © to 227g (w) | 2:00 total time | 200 degrees | 1.42 TDS | 21.30% Ext.

Apple notes. Nuttiness. Slightly syrupy body. Dried fruits.

It begins with a bit of a dry fruit note, thinking apples or apple butter with a bit of nuttiness in the end.  Slightly syrupy body with a present brightness on the front.  Lighter end of a medium bodied coffee, balanced.   

As the cup opens up dried fruits seem to come out, with a sweet and dense orange note coming forward as the body changes to a bit more juicy and buttery presentation.  It still has a drying finish that, in addition to the nuttiness, seems to add notes of dark chocolate.

The end of the cup produces a really clean finish, creamy sweet, and the concoction of flavors in the finish now leave the mouth a little more liquory, bourbon barrel aged in flavor.


Brew Method:

Chemex | 30g © to 480g (w) | 3:30 total time | 200 degrees | 1.30 TDS | 19.25% Ext.

The cup begins with a dense orange note, but amidst a more woody and nutty backdrop.  It has a souring note that makes me think of grapefruit, too, with a slightly juicy medium body.  Best to let this cool a bit.

Cooling further those darker low notes release and you have a very creamy, sweet cup.  Vanilla lined with slightly dancing citrus acidity like foam of an Italian cream soda.

It opens up a little more lively, with some dried fruit sweetness but now adds a bit of chocolate to the mix of nuttiness in the finish.  The more it opens the more creamy caramel sweetness comes out, still with not many discernible fruit notes besides the citrus and a slightly drying finish.


This coffee offered a really solid body, and really pleasing sweetness.  It was comfortable and approachable, with sweetness that doesn’t take away from the cup for a drinker at any level.  The highlight would probably be those dancing citrus and creamy notes from the Chemex make, very enjoyable section of the cup and coffee.  It also works well in milk based drinks too, cutting down on that acidity a bit.

Enough stretching our legs, we have quite the journey ahead.  For some reading on our travels to the next stop check out Brown’s stories about the Menendez coffee operations.  


Co-host of the I Brew My Own Coffee Podcast and always has all the chocolate. I also love to play board games. Yea, let's go do that right now.