El Salvador has traditionally been known for bigger estates in Santa Ana. Chalatenango wasn't really on the map until Cup of Excellence came. The first year of CoE, Santa Ana was in the top places in the competition; the second year, Chalatenango "was discovered." This area has had good results due to its Pacamara variety and significant climate difference from Santa Ana: It's a much cooler climate.
It is a hard area to access. Coffee is traded in parchment here so this complicates things a bit. We have to buy the coffee in parchment and find a mill to prepare it in green exportable. This brings some risks, as each coffee will yield various amounts of green depending on the amount of defects.
I've personally been criticized by some Santa Ana producers as to why we are buying coffee in this area. One producer asked me why was I buying coffee there as he thought coffee from here was "stolen" due to the nature of how it's bought and sold (a lot of times with cash in hand), and another producer questioned me as to why I was buying directly from producers and not through an exporter. The answer is simple: to access the best qualities.
This year we bought some coffees grown at 1900 meters in this area. Could be one of the first El Sals at this altitude!
— Piero Cristiani
For more information on Salvadoran coffee, visit our El Salvador origin page.