El Carmen is an extremely well-run specialty estate and is managed with scrupulous attention detail, with great emphasis placed on maintaining the identity of each lot from the moment its coffee cherries are harvested until the point when the green beans are ready for export. The estate’s coffee is produced under approximately 60% shadecover, which is required for the coffee to ripen evenly. Prior to the rainy season, shade trees are then pruned to about 40% shade to allow the access of light necessary for new foliage growth.
During the harvest, the Red and Orange Bourbon cherries are hand-picked only when perfectly ripe and de-pulped the same day. The red and orange varietals are processed separately. Red and orange (also known as ‘pink’) Bourboncoffees are widespread through El Salvador but are typically inter-planted, picked as they ripen and processed all together. El Carmen separates the two varieties to preserve their unique characteristics.
This 100% Red Bourbon lot has been processed using El Carmen’s own honey method. When preparing El Carmen Honey, the coffee is pulped using an ecopulper that uses no water to process the coffee. Once the coffee is dry pulped, it is delivered directly to a silo with all the mucilage still attached. This sticky parchment is then immediately taken to raised beds or parijuelas to dry. The mill’s clay patios are only used to dry honey coffee when there is no additional space in the raised beds.