The coffee story

Finca Las Brisas, a farm located in the town of Juayua in the middle of the Apaneca Ilamatepec mountain range, is proof of how good farming practices, technology and expertise in post-harvest can change the future of coffee. While most Salvadoran coffee producers have been struggling with climate change, outbreaks of leaf rust and labour shortages (leading many to abandon their farms), Carlos Pola is on the other extreme of this stark reality with a healthy plantation, increasing production and outstanding quality.

A new wave of opportunities
Carlos comes from a family of farmers (he is the 5th generation) but has worked in the textile industry for 20 years before becoming fully dedicated to coffee. “The textile industry has been declining in El Salvador because neighbouring countries have a better competitive advantage. I wanted to move away to do something else and, having been involved in coffee my whole life through my family, I knew there were opportunities,” he recalls. 

One of Carlos' specialty wet mills. He built two to cater for all 3 family farms


“Coffee used to be something people would look into and tell you that you should be doing something else. However, the specialty industry brought a new wave of opportunities.” With that mindset, Carlos embraced coffee farming 20 years ago, still part time at first until 2012, when he could earn a living from coffee alone. Today, he manages Finca Las Brisas and 2 other farms from his family all by himself. And he has been determined to bring coffee farming to the 21st century by investing in technology and sustainability.  

A fungi powered farm
Carlos describes his approach to farming as “dramatically new and sustainable”. He doesn’t produce washed lots because the process results in the contamination of water sources. The farmer is also a big believer in the power of Mycorrhizal fungi, a type of fungi that forms a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship with the coffee plants. The fungi colonize the plant through their roots and establish a network of structures through which they exchange sugars and nutrients with the tree. 

Mycorrhizal fungi on the roots of a tree


“The plant provides carbohydrates in the form of sugars that it obtains from atmospheric carbon through photosynthesis; fungi in return provide nutrients and water to the plant. Fungi forms filaments (hyphae) that form a network (mycelium) that expands hundreds of times the capacity of the root and breaks down nutrients that would otherwise be inaccessible to the plant,” Carlos explains. 

According to the farmer, this is a technique that was used 50 years ago and has been replaced since by chemical fertilizers. “I have been doing this all over the farm for 6 years now and it really works! The fungi help restore the soil and capture soil humidity so that trees remain healthy even in months with no rain,” he says.  

Making away with Bourbons
When the leaf rust crisis hit Central America in 2012 and 2013, Finca Las Brisas was badly affected as most farms in the area. Carlos decided to renovate most of the farm with new varieties that are more resistant to the disease. This factor is very significant for El Salvador, where many producers stick to the traditional production of the Bourbon variety due to its good reputation for cup quality. 

“In El Salvador, it is a sin to plant anything but Bourbon or Pacas. But Bourbon is so complicated to maintain... You end up using a lot of fungicide. My thinking was that I had to look into other varieties and become an expert in coffee and processing methods. You have to be completely professional on the mill. If you do that, you can work with any coffee. After the crisis, I started renovating and spent 6 years at 15% capacity. I had to reinvent myself. So I kept Pacamaras and Pacas, which are more resistant, and planted a lot of hybrid varieties I already had.”

A big bowl of Ferrari red cherries

21st century farming and Ferrari red cherries
Other than replanting, Carlos changed the architecture of the farm. “‘Why is it that everyone plants coffee in squares going down the hill?’ I asked myself. I asked others too and no one seemed to know the answer. I decided to plant my new trees in rows following the contours of the farm like they do in Brazil,” he remembers. Carlos is referring to contour farming, a practice which consists in planting trees along a line of same elevation to conserve rainwater and prevent erosion, a big problem in El Salvador. The plantation looks like a spider web from above, under the tree canopy (Carlos grows trees which help to fix nitrogen in the soil).

Las Brisas is also innovative in the use of technology. “I developed an app that traces the coffee from farm to cup through QR codes,” Carlos explains. Workers of the farm can access a database through their mobile phones and input information in real time, tracing batches daily from the moment they enter the mill to the moment when they leave the warehouse. On top of that, Carlos is always experimenting with new processing techniques and recipes to get the best out of his cherries - which he only picks when they are “Ferrari red” - and to bring new flavours to roasters. As he puts it, he is not on the business of “selling fruit”, but experiences.

Finca San Antonio, one of Carlo's farms, produced a Pacamara that was used by World Champion Dan Fellows in both 2018 and 2019 Coffee in Good Spirits Competitions.


Las Brisas cupping lab with inndividual batches identified with QR codes

The process

This is a new process we call semi-natural. We float the cherries and ferment them anaerobically in blue barrels for a few days, then remove the pulp and leave all the mucilage around the seed. The sticky seeds dry on raised beds for around 30 days. This process uses practically no water, just enough to keep the premises clean. The end result is a unique Black Honey, better than the ones we produced in the past.
SV-126-202111 Upcoming harvest

Semi Natural H1 Black Honey

  • $8.82 USD / kg FOB Conventional (no certification) est.
Origin
El Salvador
Variety
Farm Hybrids
Process type
Honey
Altitude range
1200m - 1500m
Harvest period
November, 2021 - March, 2022
Average yearly production in bags
0
Available quantity
45 X 69 kg bags est.
The new harvest for this coffee is upcoming!
You can contact the seller if you would like to create a pre-contract for this harvest
Order free sample
Pre-contract
  • Samples are unavailable
  • Shared shipments planned
    • Release from warehouse in Bremen from August, 2022
      Orders possible until 2022-05-16
  • Custom shipments available
  • Doorstep delivery available
    We can arrange delivery to your roastery
Finca Las Brisas
Produced & offered by Finca Las Brisas
  • El Salvador
  • Single farm
  • 13 sales on Algrano
  • 2 Average orders per roaster
  • 8 Roaster relationships
  • Seller relationships with Roasters in
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Bean Shot Coffee

Innovative, high-quality, only honeys & naturals

Pola Handcrafted Coffees. Honeys and Naturals. Raised Beds. Located in Juayua. Apaneca-Ilamatepec Mountain range.

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The coffee story

Finca Las Brisas, a farm located in the town of Juayua in the middle of the Apaneca Ilamatepec mountain range, is proof of how good farming practices, technology and expertise in post-harvest can change the future of coffee. While most Salvadoran coffee producers have been struggling with climate change, outbreaks of leaf rust and labour shortages (leading many to abandon their farms), Carlos Pola is on the other extreme of this stark reality with a healthy plantation, increasing production and outstanding quality.

A new wave of opportunities
Carlos comes from a family of farmers (he is the 5th generation) but has worked in the textile industry for 20 years before becoming fully dedicated to coffee. “The textile industry has been declining in El Salvador because neighbouring countries have a better competitive advantage. I wanted to move away to do something else and, having been involved in coffee my whole life through my family, I knew there were opportunities,” he recalls. 

One of Carlos' specialty wet mills. He built two to cater for all 3 family farms


“Coffee used to be something people would look into and tell you that you should be doing something else. However, the specialty industry brought a new wave of opportunities.” With that mindset, Carlos embraced coffee farming 20 years ago, still part time at first until 2012, when he could earn a living from coffee alone. Today, he manages Finca Las Brisas and 2 other farms from his family all by himself. And he has been determined to bring coffee farming to the 21st century by investing in technology and sustainability.  

A fungi powered farm
Carlos describes his approach to farming as “dramatically new and sustainable”. He doesn’t produce washed lots because the process results in the contamination of water sources. The farmer is also a big believer in the power of Mycorrhizal fungi, a type of fungi that forms a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship with the coffee plants. The fungi colonize the plant through their roots and establish a network of structures through which they exchange sugars and nutrients with the tree. 

Mycorrhizal fungi on the roots of a tree


“The plant provides carbohydrates in the form of sugars that it obtains from atmospheric carbon through photosynthesis; fungi in return provide nutrients and water to the plant. Fungi forms filaments (hyphae) that form a network (mycelium) that expands hundreds of times the capacity of the root and breaks down nutrients that would otherwise be inaccessible to the plant,” Carlos explains. 

According to the farmer, this is a technique that was used 50 years ago and has been replaced since by chemical fertilizers. “I have been doing this all over the farm for 6 years now and it really works! The fungi help restore the soil and capture soil humidity so that trees remain healthy even in months with no rain,” he says.  

Making away with Bourbons
When the leaf rust crisis hit Central America in 2012 and 2013, Finca Las Brisas was badly affected as most farms in the area. Carlos decided to renovate most of the farm with new varieties that are more resistant to the disease. This factor is very significant for El Salvador, where many producers stick to the traditional production of the Bourbon variety due to its good reputation for cup quality. 

“In El Salvador, it is a sin to plant anything but Bourbon or Pacas. But Bourbon is so complicated to maintain... You end up using a lot of fungicide. My thinking was that I had to look into other varieties and become an expert in coffee and processing methods. You have to be completely professional on the mill. If you do that, you can work with any coffee. After the crisis, I started renovating and spent 6 years at 15% capacity. I had to reinvent myself. So I kept Pacamaras and Pacas, which are more resistant, and planted a lot of hybrid varieties I already had.”

A big bowl of Ferrari red cherries

21st century farming and Ferrari red cherries
Other than replanting, Carlos changed the architecture of the farm. “‘Why is it that everyone plants coffee in squares going down the hill?’ I asked myself. I asked others too and no one seemed to know the answer. I decided to plant my new trees in rows following the contours of the farm like they do in Brazil,” he remembers. Carlos is referring to contour farming, a practice which consists in planting trees along a line of same elevation to conserve rainwater and prevent erosion, a big problem in El Salvador. The plantation looks like a spider web from above, under the tree canopy (Carlos grows trees which help to fix nitrogen in the soil).

Las Brisas is also innovative in the use of technology. “I developed an app that traces the coffee from farm to cup through QR codes,” Carlos explains. Workers of the farm can access a database through their mobile phones and input information in real time, tracing batches daily from the moment they enter the mill to the moment when they leave the warehouse. On top of that, Carlos is always experimenting with new processing techniques and recipes to get the best out of his cherries - which he only picks when they are “Ferrari red” - and to bring new flavours to roasters. As he puts it, he is not on the business of “selling fruit”, but experiences.

Finca San Antonio, one of Carlo's farms, produced a Pacamara that was used by World Champion Dan Fellows in both 2018 and 2019 Coffee in Good Spirits Competitions.


Las Brisas cupping lab with inndividual batches identified with QR codes

The process

This is a new process we call semi-natural. We float the cherries and ferment them anaerobically in blue barrels for a few days, then remove the pulp and leave all the mucilage around the seed. The sticky seeds dry on raised beds for around 30 days. This process uses practically no water, just enough to keep the premises clean. The end result is a unique Black Honey, better than the ones we produced in the past.
Coffee Quality Evaluation
Algrano
Algrano (Pending)
Cupped: N/A
Finca Las Brisas
Seller (Pending)
Cupped: N/A
SCA Score
Algrano (Pending)
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Seller (Pending)
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Key flavor notes
Algrano (Pending)
-
Seller (Pending)
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Quality comment
Algrano (Pending)
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Seller (Pending)
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FAQ


Shipping
Once the ordering period ends we will consolidate all coffees in a shared container. During transport, your coffee is fully insured. We will keep you informed about the shipment status.

Upon arrival of the coffee at the warehouse, you can choose between 2 delivery modes:

  • Doorstep delivery: We will take care of transport to your roastery. We will provide your coffee fully insured until it is ready for unloading from the truck at your roastery.
  • EXW (ex. warehouse) means that we will provide the coffee ready for pick-up at the terminal of the warehouse. You are responsible for organising transport and insurance from the warehouse to your roastery.

Currently, we can deliver coffee anywhere in Europe, except Hungary. For all European buyers, the coffee will be provided custom cleared in any case. Roasters in Switzerland choosing EXW will be responsible for customs clearance.

Currencies
When calculating price, you can select your preferred currency: USD, CHF, EUR, or GBP.

2 payment methods are accepted on Algrano:

1. Buy now, pay later
Pay your coffee after its delivered in Europe. This option generates an additional fee, displayed in the shopping cart.

3. Pay 10 days after placing the order
We will send you a 10 day invoice straight after you placed your order.