Where a coffee cup start, part 1

Most people love a cup of coffee every day,  and you drink it the way you like it. But,  have you thought about  where a coffee cup starts? We just drink coffee but a lot of us don’t know where the coffee cup start. Well, I will let you know where to start that way you appreciate and you enjoy the most every cup of coffee you drink. Everything starts in coffee farms.

Coffee farms

There are several countries that produce coffee but I will talk about Central America in special I will talk about El Salvador. I am the third generation coffee farmer, here in El Salvador, Our farms are located at north side of El Salvador in an Apaneca-Ilamatepec mountain range, in this area is where coffee history started in our country around 1900´s, if you want to know more about coffee history click HERE!. The coffee farms can locate it at Central Standard, HG(high ground) or SHG(strictly high ground), but what is this?

Central Standard, HG, and SHG?

This is altitude where the coffee farm is located it, this is measure in meter above of sea level(m.a.s.l). Now let see what are this:

  • Central Standard: is a coffee farm from 0 meters to 699 m.a.s.l. This is a low-quality coffee use mostly for blends.
  • HG or High Grounds:These coffee farms are located it between 700 to a 999  m.a.s.l. The coffee at this altitude is a better quality or a good cupping score.
  • SHG or Strictly High Grounds: These coffee farms are located it in between 1000 to 1500 m.a.s.l. This is the best coffee in this farms are the special coffee or gourmet coffee.

Now We know that altitude is a really important thing for coffee producers, you get better pricing and the best quality coffee. But this for El Salvador in other areas may change because of depending on the latitude of the country that may vary.

Coffee cycle


Well, the blooming start between February’s until April this change due to the rains and now is changing more because of the climate change that is making wheater crazy. This is a really special time because of the sightseeing, the smell, I personally call blooming the Salvadorean snow because you can see all coffee farms white like snow, but that’s me. I kind of crazy about coffee, I really love it. Also in this time we start a fertilization, special for the leaves and to help coffee trees stay strong for the blooming because every flower will be a coffee bean, that’s why it’s so important.

Coffee bean growing stage

When a winter begins in a tropical country this starts in may all the way to august or September. This is a very important because coffee start growing and gaining weight, in this stage we keep fertilization and we also cut shade trees down a little bit, they called Ingas, because coffee in summer time needs to be under 30% or 40% under tree shades, if not the sun can damage the crops, and in this stage we start using fungicides this to fight Roya or rust disease this is a fungus that makes trees drop the leaves and this affect the harvesting, this is the disease that is changing and become stronger and is damaging and reducing production more than 50%, and all coffee producer are worry about. By September or October, you can see green cherries and we are getting ready for the harvesting time. And also at this time we start planting the new coffee plants in select areas and is all depend on each producer what area is prepared. But this is important to rejuvenate the coffee plantation.

Harvest time

This start depends on the altitude of the coffee farm. Start with central standard around September or October, after this is HG that start in October or November and the last to be harvesting is SHG that start on December until February next year. Usually is one major harvest per year, and it is labor intensive. Specialty coffee is always hand-picked to ensure that only ripe cherries are picked. Coffee pickers, make multiple passes typically every 8-10 days throughout the harvest season which can last 2 to 3 months. A good picker can harvest as much as 200 pounds of fruit each day, the equivalent of 50 to 60 pounds of raw coffee beans.

Combine this effort with the high elevations and mountainous terrain that is favored for coffee arabica and it is easy to see how challenging and rewarding it is to grow coffee.

Every day at the end of the day the coffee beans picked is taken to a Coffee Mill to keep with the process. I will write another post to address this because is still a large part of writing about.

In El Salvador, the same day is picked, and the same day is processed in the coffee mill because our country is small we can do that, and will assure coffee quality.

Coffee of El Salvador is greatly appreciated it around the world because of excellent quality, the coffee varieties we have are arabica, bourbon, pacas, pacamara, portillo, sarchimor, etc. but the ones we use for gourmet coffees are bourbon, pacamara, and portillo, they are planted in SHG. 

Why part 1?

So this is the part 1, this is the beginning of enjoying a cup of coffee and its benefits, you want to learn more about it click HERE, of the whole process to have it in your cups around the world, is a large process, so every time you are drinking coffee thing in all this work and people involved in the process there are a bunch of people who depend on of this grains.

If you like this information or if you have questions, or simply you want to share your insights please do it I love to hear from you, or if you want to write a specific theme just let me know

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  1. Very interesting about the different varieties of coffee, I mostly only see arabica, is that the most common? I am real interested in trying the other varieties now!

    • hello, Eduardo, I like you are interested in coffee the most common variety of gourmet coffees is arabica but this is like the mother of varieties from arabica coffee it comes bourbon, pacamara, geisha, and a lot more. You can ask the coffee shop for this varieties and you can try all of them. This answer help you please let me know.

    • thank you I like you. Do you want to know something about coffee let me know and I will write a post

  2. Muy buena información acerca de el café una bebida muy rica aunque casi nadie sabe todo lo que cuesta ptoducirlo y de mucha gente involucrada en este proceso quiero saber cuál es la mejor forma de preparar un taza de café en casa?

    • Gracias Alejandra compartimos la misma pasion por el cafe y la verdad si es un proceso muy largo y con mucha gente en medio de esto pero es muy interesante y con respecto a tu inquietud voy a escribir un articulo sobre eso ya lo estoy preparando sigue en contacto y ayudanos a compartir esta pagina con todos lo que conozcas

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