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The New Yorker: Sacred Grounds

Letter from El Salvador
Sacred Grounds Aida Batlle and the new coffee evangelists.

“ABSTRACT: LETTER FROM EL SALVADOR about coffee grower Aida Batlle. Batlle is a fifth-generation coffee farmer and a first-generation coffee celebrity. On the steep hillsides of the Santa Ana Volcano, in western El Salvador, she produces beans that trade on the extreme end of the coffee market. These beans have made Batlle an object of obsession among coffee connoisseurs and professionals. During the Salvadoran civil war, from 1980 until 1992, the Batlle family took refuge in Miami, which is where Aida Batlle grew up. She arrived in Santa Ana, the country’s scruffy second city, in 2002, only vaguely acquainted with the business and practice of coffee farming. She knew that the family land had potential, because of its high altitude and rich volcanic soil. In 2003, and Batlle decided to enter El Salvador’s inaugural Cup of Excellence competition. Coffee from Finca Kilimanjaro, one of her farms, impressed the panel of judges. At auction, a Norwegian roaster paid $14.06 per pound for Batlle’s coffee. The auction earned Batlle almost forty thousand dollars. More important, the publicity introduced Batlle to the coffee buyers she calls the “dream team”: Duane Sorenson, the founder of Stumptown, in Portland, Oregon…” Read More >>