Finca San Antonio
Notes: Walnut, plum, jasmine floral, with complex aromas.
The volcanic peaks of El Salvador provide ideal conditions for growing coffee, but after a century of cultivation, in 2012, a fungus known as coffee rust or “roya” nearly wiped out El Salvador’s production. This disease threatened the livelihood of all Salvadoran coffee farmers and many were forced to abandon their farms; replanting requires substantial capital to invest and years of waiting for young trees to begin bearing fruit.
At this same time, Carlos Pola left a career in textile exports to restore his family’s coffee farm. Carlos could be characterized as “one with the soil”. Through observation, he discovered the coffee trees growing among his pepeto shade trees looked the healthiest. This is because the pepeto tree has a unique symbiosis with the surrounding coffee trees. The pepeto takes nitrogen from the atmosphere and converts it into nutrients that are readily digestible for the coffee root systems, nutrients otherwise unavailable.
He taps into this system further, leveraging its natural strengths to decompose plant matter into nutrient-rich soil which drowns weeds and prevents erosion. This natural growing system eliminates reliance on chemical fertilization and pesticides.
Carlos has increased production by planting rows of coffee trees in special patterns along flat tiers, simultaneously combating erosion. Traditionally coffee trees are planted in vertical sparse rows down the side of a mountain, creating a difficult and dangerous environment for coffee pickers.
With many coffee pickers in their 60s and above, Carlos wanted to ensure they could pick comfortably. The dense trees allow pickers to focus on a 3-meter section all day because there’s an abundance of cherries in a concentrated space.
This attention to detail lead to Pola Coffee gaining global notoriety with back to back World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship wins with Dan Fellows in 2018 & 2019.
Carlos strives for the rise of the entire specialty coffee industry in El Salvador. He works with neighboring producers to consolidate their coffees in-country and export internationally. This past October, in collaboration with Café de El Salvador and the government of El Salvador, Carlos taught a ‘Sustainable Coffee Growing in Climate Change’ seminar.
Now entering his highest production year yet, Carlos attributes this success to careful variety selection, innovative cultivation practices, and a highly-skilled team. We’re thrilled to establish a long-term partnership with Carlos Pola and look forward to the years to come!