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.


Plastic bag of roasted coffee beans

Photo courtesy of Adam Richards


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.


Photo courtesy of Adam Richards

Photo courtesy of Adam Richards


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.


Man pouring green coffee beans

Louis-Philippe preparing the beans, photo courtesy of Adam Richards


“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.


The coffee roaster, photo courtesy of Adam Richards

The coffee roaster, photo courtesy of Adam Richards


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.


Hands picking coffee beans from pile on table

Separating the defective beans, photo courtesy of Adam Richards


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.


Man brewing drip coffee, shot from above, on a Juayua coffee tour

Brewing the coffee, photo courtesy of Adam Richards


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.

Woman smelling bowl of coffee beans

Savouring the smell of the beans, photo courtesy of Adam Richards

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.

3 comments on “Juayua Coffee Tour in El Salvador”

  1. Jose says:

    Hi Ailish, how are you?

    Looks like a great experience!

    Does Louis-Philippe have an email or website? To contact him

    Thank you.

    1. ailish_kc@hotmail.com says:

      Hi, we booked our tour through Hostel Anahuac in Juayua. If you contact them directly you should be able to arrange a tour, or they can be booked once you show up at the hostel. Enjoy!

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