El Salvador has been traditionally known for bigger estates in Santa Ana. Chalatenango wasn't really on the map until the Cup of Excellence came. The first year of CoE, Santa Ana was in the top places. 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, such as yield risk—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); 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.
We have bought some coffees grown at 1900 meters in this area, which could be one of the first El Sals at this altitude!
— Piero Cristiani
For more information on Salvadorian coffee, visit our El Salvador origin page.