Brian Beyke

Verve Coffee Roasters - El Salvador La Palma - Mistobox - May 2014

Brian Beyke


It feels like forever since I had a bag from Verve Coffee Roasters.  Last year I had a bag of their Kenya Chorongi that was overly impressive, and then I picked up a bag of their Holiday blend that I wasn’t as crazy about.  Let that not stray us, brothers and sisters, that Verve is still a welcomed roaster to see in this month’s Mistobox.   Verve is another company that knows how to please visually, with beautiful logos, shop aesthetics, and one of the most beautiful packages I’ve come across.  They also offer free shipping on all orders, so it makes it extra tempting.  While I lose those aesthetics a bit with Mistobox, you still get the beans, which ultimately is the most important part.  Actually, the current line-up at Verve is pretty appealing, but before you go browsing their selections let’s sit down and close out this Mistobox with their La Palma El Salvador.

Verve loves working with farmers and importers who develop incredibly special and unique micro-lots.  It improves traceability, allows for more understanding of how different variables effect the cup, and more often than not yields something that enables one to truly appreciate all the effort that goes into producing these dynamic coffees.  It is remarkably exciting to try different coffees from the same farm and find intense contrast between them, all the while knowing that they were grown less than a hectare apart!  The one occasional consequence of buying these exceptional micro-lots is just that: they are micro-lots. Production and availability are sometimes relatively low, and so in order to bring you some of the best coffees in the world, Verve blends them together to create a super-coffee. Such is the case with La Palma.

The farms that make up this amazing blend are: La Cuestona Lopez, Cerro Negro, and Mama Delia. These three farms, separately, produce amazingly clean honey-processed coffee with loads of character. Together, they create something that might even be better. Two of these farms Verve is working with for the first time this year. This blend also allows them the ability to purchase new, exciting coffees and have a guaranteed place for them in their lineup.

La Palma is a small town in the mountainous region of Chalatenango. It is loaded with bustling streets of people walking, selling fruit in stands on the side of the road and slow, sauntering horses. The farms in the mountains outside of the city are some of the most special in El Salvador for their unique qualities.


Roaster: Verve Coffee Roasters

Origin: El Salvador, Citalá, Chalatenango

Producer: La Cuestona Lopez / Cerro Negro / Mama Delia

Process: Honey processed

Varieties: Typica / Pacamara / Bourbon

Elevation: 1,500 - 1,700m


Brew Method:

Woodneck | 30g © to 480g (w) | 4:15 total time | 198 degrees | 1.37 TDS | 20.27% Ext. 

Aroma of Milky Way and wood.  Cherry and tangerine on the nose.

 A tiny bit musky on the front with cherry notes, milk chocolate, and airy nougat middle.  Crisp tangerine acidity with notes of tobacco and banana as well with almonds arriving in the finish.  Sweet with a combo of juicy meets syrupy body that really bounces around those candy bar notes.  

It’s actually a really welcoming cup, it reminds me of something I’d drink if I were out camping or in a cabin and can step out and be surrounded by the crisp air and trees.   

The cooler it gets the softer it grows, still crisp and juicy with balanced citrus notes and creamy finish.  A very clean and refreshing cup.


Brew Method:

Gino Dripper | 34g © to 552g (w) | 3:45 total time | 197 degrees | 1.34 TDS | 20.16% Ext. 

First sips are quite delicious.  Crisp and brisk off the front with an orange-like acidity, immediately finding stone fruit sweetness like cherry and peach with milk chocolate, caramel syrup, and nougat widening across the rear of the mouth in the finish.  It is sweet, but it is pleasant.  Medium bodied, nice and smooth and very, very balanced.  

 It’s really hard to deviate from Verve’s notes here, as that’s really what you find.  As the cup grows cooler there is an intensity to the tangerine, peach, and nougat flavors that only continues to grow sweeter, more enjoyable, more refreshing and juicy.

Even further, the notes do soften up and the cup becomes very creamy- silky almost, with a light sparkling quality to the citrus notes and gentle sweeps of those same milk chocolate, nougat, and tropical and stone fruit notes all around the walls of the mouth.

Medium body, brisk acidity, creamy, juicy.


This is the kind of cup you want to wake up to.  Specifically, this is the cup you want to take with you when you go on your vacation to the mountains, wake up in your log cabin and brew up to take out on the porch, sit with, and take in the fresh air and beautiful scenery.  I didn’t aeropress it, but I’m sure it’d do just fine with your hand grinder, aeropress, and stove top kettle while camping too.  (Actually, why don’t you do that and report back to me about your experience.)  The body is the highlight of the cup, with a refreshing and crisp acidity that is quite welcoming early morning-  welcome anytime, really.  Verve said pleasing and refreshing to the last sip and that’s no exaggeration.  For a honey-processed cup this one offered great balance and still remained juicy and delicious into the final sips.  

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.