Juayua Coffee Tour in El Salvador
Despite being a life-long lover of coffee, I knew nothing about how this heavenly drink made it from the farm to my cup. Where better to find out than in the coffee-loving nation of El Salvador? So Adam and I signed up for a Juayua coffee tour, to see the coffee-making process from start to finish, and to sample all we could drink of our favourite beverage.
Juayua Coffee Tour
We booked through our hostel, and paid $20 each. It was more than we were expecting, but the profits go directly to the farm workers. And, we were to learn during the tour, the coffee pickers earn just $7 for a whole day’s work, so I was glad our money was going to a good cause.
We were led to the roastery on the edge of town by Louis-Philippe, a French Canadian whose love of coffee had brought him to Juayua. He showed us around the grounds, where we got to see the coffee plants, guarded by a tin scarecrow. We then followed him into the roastery, to see how the coffee beans are prepared.
“It’s the mix of science and art that interests me”, Louis-Philippe explained.
As he showed us the process of preparing the beans, I could see what he meant. Though the roasting process involved exact temperatures and measurements, crafting the perfect cup of coffee can certainly be seen as an art form.
Making Our Own Coffee
Over the course of the next three hours, we made our own coffee from start to finish. We began by opening a sack of beans that had been picked and dried. Spreading them on the table, we picked out the beans with defects. The defective beans were any with faded colouring, cracks, or holes where caffeine-eating larvae had wriggled in.
Eventually, only the perfect beans remained, and we poured these into the roaster. The science side of things came into play now, as Louis-Philippe explained how there are three factors to be considered- sweetness, acidity, and bitterness. The temperature and length of roasting must be calculated to bring out the right levels of each of these.
Once our beans had been roasted to perfection, they were ground up and placed in a drip coffee maker. Before long, we had our cups of coffee in front of us.
Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to drink it. First, it had to cool, then we had to smell it and try to pick out the different fragrances. We were even instructed to keep our hands away from the cup so the smell of our hands didn’t interfere with that of the coffee. Coffee tasting seems to have even more rules than wine tasting.
Finally, after hours of preparing it to perfection, we were allowed to drink our coffee. All I can say is, it was worth the wait.
Looking for more things to do after your Juayua coffee tour? Stick around till the weekend, when the town comes alive with the weekly Juayua food festival.