The farm is located on the North West slopes of the Picacho Volcano in the Bálsamo-Quezaltepec coffee region, within the municipality of Nejapa, San Salvador. The farm was originally bought in 1880 by Dr. Emilio Alvarez Lalinde, when his family migrated to El Salvador from Colombia. The family brought with them their strong ancestral links and vast knowledge of coffee production. In 1992 the estate was taken over by the Alvares Gallardo family, who brought a new passion and dedication to the farm, working hard to achieve RFA certification, in addition to improving all aspects of the estate.
The estate is made up of 90 hectares of coffee producing land and 5 hectares of natural forest, which has allowed the wildlife to flourish. Starting at 1070 masl, the farm is a long thin strip of land which climbs up to 1800 masl, producing 3000 bags annually. The La Montana lot compromises a 4 Hectare (6 Manzanas) parcel of land, which is nestled at an altitude of 1,600 masl. The coffee picked is a Bourbon varietal that has been grown under shade trees in the nutrient rich volcanic soil.
The family are currently going through the process of replacing old coffee plants across the farm and are looking to improve quality and yield for future harvests. In addition to Bourbon, there are also sections of Orange Bourbon and Pacamara in the higher reaches of the estate, which are ready to harvest this year. The estate has also re-introduced the old practice of 'agobia', which involves cutting and growing to improve the yield.
There is a strong emphasis on community at the El Cipres Estate. In addition to their RFA certification, the family strive to ensure all workers are treated with respect and dignity. The permanent staff who live on the farm all year round have their food subsidised by the farm owner and during the picking season, all staff receive daily meals and coffee. The houses of the permanent staff have also been provided with new efficient reduced smoke cooking stoves, in addition to the installation of volcanic stones which act as filters for the wastewater, to reduce pollutants reaching the soils.
This year we have requested for El Borbollon to produce 2 natural microlots exclusively for us, using cherry selected from the upper reaches of the El Cipres farm. The La Montano lot is specifically from a parcel of land which is approximately 4 hectares in size. The cherry is delivered from the farm where it is then floated and separated to ensure only ripe cherries are used in producing these lots. Once ready, the cherry is moved to the patio, usually late in the afternoon so the cherries lose the initial moisture without ‘heat shock’ from the strong afternoon sun. They are then left for 48hrs to settle and not raked, to prevent the skin of the cherry being damaged whilst soft. The coffee is turned every 45 minutes after this until it reaches moisture of 11%. After this, it is left to rest in bags inside GrainPro to settle for 30 days before being hulled ready for shipment.