Los Pirineos — Natural
Found in the Usulután department of El Salvador, Los Pirineos farm is operated by fifth-generation coffee producer Diego Baraona. Diego took the helm at the farm in 2020 following his father’s passing and now works to carry on the tradition and legacy of not only his father Gilberto, but the more than 130 years of experience, history, and knowledge that his family has in coffee cultivation.
The farm sits 1400 meters above sea level on the slopes of a stand-alone volcano. This unique positioning provides a microclimate unlike any other with sun-filled days and cool breezes, creating an environment ideal for coffee production, processing, and drying. This climate is capitalized on especially well in the drying area of the farm where raised drying beds are positioned between two peaks, creating a wind tunnel through which a breeze constantly flows. The beds are exposed to the sun for twelve hours per day while the temperature is regulated by the persistent wind, creating an ideal environment for producing Honey and Natural coffees.
Across Los Pirineos there are around 20 coffee varieties in production—including Rume Sudan, SL-28, Batian, and Gesha—though Pacamara and Bourbon are the staple coffees making up approximately 80% of the farm’s volume. Along with the 20 varieties that are in production on the farm, Los Pirineos also keeps its own coffee variety garden and nursery containing approximately 70 different varieties of coffees. This work with varieties was a passion for Diego’s father Gilberto, and is a passion that Diego intends to carry on into the future of the farm by continuing to grow and experiment.
While quality is certainly important at Los Pirineos, Diego keeps an eye toward environmental and social responsibility as well. All of the water used in production and processing of the coffee comes from collected rainwater. Bees are also kept here, both to produce honey and to contribute to the local ecosystem in a variety of ways. Diego employs around 60 people on the farm, and works to make sure that the people who harvest the coffee are also working on other projects on the farm year-round for consistent and sustainable work. All of the coffee at Los Pirineos is shade grown under trees planted.
The oldest method in existence, dry/natural processing is also the least complicated and requires the least machinery – in fact, it doesn’t require any mechanical equipment. The cherries need to be dried on beds or patios, where they will stay for days or even weeks, slowly hardening as they lose moisture. The dry pulp is then removed in the mill.
But natural/dry processing doesn’t begin immediately on specialty coffee farms. First of all, dirt, branches, and unripe or defective cherries must be removed. At Los Pirineos, this is done by briefly submerging the cherries in water. Good cherries will sink, while defective or unripe ones will float.
At Los Pirineos, the cherries are dried on African beds; these raise the cherries off the ground and so are more likely to result in uniform drying. The cherries are also turned frequently for the same reason. At night, the beds are covered to protect cherries from moisture. During the day, some bed have partial shade cover. The cherries will stay here for 30-45 days, depending on the weather.
|tasting notes||cherry, rose water, juicy|