Aida Batlle, a fifth generation El Salvadorian coffee producer, owns four farms located along the slopes of the Santa Ana volcano: Finca Kilimanjaro, Finca Los Alpes, Finca Mauritania and Finca Tanzania. Aida is famous throughout the coffee industry. She approaches her craft with depth and vision, striving to learn everything about her coffee and to achieve its full potential. The Batlle family has been involved in El Salvador’s coffee industry since the late 1800’s when Aida’s great great grandfather, a coffee producer, was the first to plant the Bourbon variety within the country. El Salvador is now famous for producing some of the best Bourbon in the world.
Aida approaches her craft with depth and vision, striving to learn everything about her coffee and therefore helping it to achieve its full potential. She has chosen absolute quality and maintains focus on tradition over better resistance and higher yields. Her coffees have profiles that come from a combination of unyielding cherry selection and flawless processing.
Aida’s involvement with her farms remains totally committed and intimate. When she walks through them, she constantly darts into a patch of trees to prune loose limbs with her machete or rolls up her sleeves and dives into the cherry sorting at the end of the afternoon to help her workers with the tedious task at hand. Aida calls her farms her babies. She walks them every day during the harvest and virtually every day in the off season. Aida’s relentlessness is evident in every cup that is served at Stumptown.
Mauricio Batlle purchased Finca Kilimanjaro in 1973. This 23 hectare farm was planted with a combination of Bourbon and a variety that appears to be SL28. In November 2002, Aida took over management of her father’s operation. In 2003, she entered both Finca Kilimanjaro and Finca Los Alpes in the first El Salvador Cup of Excellence. Out of 336 farms, they placed 1st and 16th, respectively. Finca Mauritania, a 15 hectare farm, is planted with Bourbon, while Finca Los Alpes is planted with Typica and Bourbon.
This coffee’s world class profile comes from a combination of unyielding cherry selection and flawless processing done at the J. Hill Mill. Every year, they replant the farm with new coffee trees while maintaining the traditional variety ratio. Aida has kept all of the old growth varieties that have grown on her farm for decades, since they define the individual flavor profiles and personalities of the farm. It is rare to find a producer who has chosen absolute quality and maintained focus on tradition over that of better resistance and higher yields, particularly in Central & South America.
As one of the most experimental and forward thinking producers in the coffee industry, Aida Batlle has brought Stumptown yet another rare and extraordinary coffee with this Kilimanjaro lot processed with traditional Kenyan methods. Aida and Stumptown’s green coffee department worked closely while investigating and experimenting with various harvesting and processing methods in order to discover changes in the flavor profile and mouthfeel. She has continued to select part of her harvest each year for the Kenya Process technique. The Kenya Process lot has been meticulously harvested, depulped, double dry fermented for up to 48 hours, thoroughly washed, soaked for 24 hours in crystal clean water and finally dried on raised beds. This process added a supple mouthfeel and exposed some of the dark fruit flavors reminiscent of Kenyan coffees which enhanced the already complex and balanced cup profile inherent in Aida’s Kilimanjaro coffee.
New in 2013:
Leaf rust began spreading quickly through El Salvador last December. For the sake of the livelihood of her farms, Aida altered her inputs in order to battle roya more effectively. Some of the fungicides used are not approved as an organic certified product, forcing her to drop her certification. This year, we also shortened her soak times in the Kenya Process to enhance the brightness. Due to strict density and her unique approach to ripe cherry selection, it only takes about 175 cherries to make a pound at Kilimanjaro, whereas the average farm takes about 300 cherries.