El Salvador Honey Process Las Termopilas - 1 lb Only-Archived Review 2017

El Salvador Honey Process Las Termopilas - 1 lb Only-Archived Review 2017


THIS COFFEE HAS SOLD OUT. Delicious sweet/savory notes found at City+, Almond Roca candies, panela sugar and roasted almond, and faint raisin and black tea accents. Aromatics of honey glazed nuts, and molasses on toast. City+ for brewed coffee, Full City for espresso.

Out of Stock

Additional Info

Cultivars Bourbon
Grade SHB EP
Processing Method Mechanically Washed - Honey Processed
Appearance .4 d/300gr, 16 - 18 screen
Arrival Date June 2017 Arrival
Region Santa Ana, Apaneca-Ilamatepec
Roast Recommendation City+ to Full City - we found Termopilas to be devoid of sweetness when taken into 2nd snaps/FC+
Organic No
Farm Gate Yes
Recommended for Espresso Yes



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Doña Sabina runs the farm Las Termopilas in an area called "Los Ausoles", named after the cluster of hot springs that can be found locally. Termopilas is relatively large at 50 hectares, and Sabina works hard to keep the farm planted in older bourbon stock instead of rust resistant hybrids, well aware of the impact cultivars have on cup quality. She's also makes sure to taste the different process batches, making regular trips to a coffee lab at the dry mill nearby where they offer training in roasting and cupping protocols. Las Termopilas sits at 1200 - 1300 meters above sea level in the Atiquizaya-llamatepec region. This is a honey processed coffee, meaning the cherry skin and much of the fruit was removed mechanically, with little water, and without fermentation. The coffee is laid to dry with some of the fruit ("honey") still intact, which takes on a crystalline look as the sugars dry to the outside of the parchment. All is removed in the dry mills, and the result from honey processing tends to produce cup characteristics somewhere between wet and dry processed coffees: relative cleanliness, big body, lower acidity, and often fruited.

At City+, Termopilas has a the sweet/savory smell of candied almond in the dry grounds: roasted almonds glazed with honey, and rolled in a mixture of spice and sugar. Full City builds a layer of pungent roast smokiness, with underlying molasses sweetness. The aromatics echo the scents of the ground coffee, and smells of warm toast with molasses and butter, sweetened peanut butter, and fig cookie saturate the steam. As you might expect, the cup flavors follow suit, City+ roasts showing roasted nut and raisiny fruit tones under a cover of raw, panela-like sugar sweetness. As the cup cools a faint black tea note emerges giving off an impression of acidity, muted in comparison to the toffee/nut flavors, which at this point resemble Almond Roca. Nut tones are more subdued at Full City, and the sweetness is countered by a bitter baking cocoa powder note, but not obfuscated altogether. A balance of roast flavor and sweetness is found at this stage of development, and where I recommend taking Termopilas should espresso be your goal (my shot was filled with rich chocolate flavors, ever so subtle nut tone, and lasting bittersweetness). But if you're looking to maximize sweetness in the cup, the "sweet spot" is City+, just beyond the end of first snaps, but before any sign of 2nd crack. It's a honey processed coffee, so visually judging roast development is a little tricky. Mottling should be almost completely gone, the beans being relatively smooth in texture, and close to uniform brownness.