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After an eventful 5 days in El Salvador, I have returned to Los Angeles with a deeper knowledge and appreciation for the beverage that has kick-started nearly every day of the last 10 years of my life. From the beautiful slopes of the Santa Ana volcano, to the sprawling drying beds of the J. Hill Mill, I was able to witness first hand the meticulousness and fine tuned expertise (of all parties involved) with the growing, picking, sorting, fermentation, milling and drying of some of the worlds finest coffees… and some more generic coffees as well.

With the mild, tangy and sweet flavor of a fresh picked coffee cherry still fresh in my mind, I can now relate the brighter and more ‘fruity’ notes of a lightly roasted coffee to what I tasted at the source. Having tasted the mucilage at various stages of several different fermentation techniques, I feel I have gained a much greater understanding of what each part of the ‘seed to cup’ process has to offer, and their importance.

Being brought to the source has greatly expanded my pallet as well as added a wealth of knowledge to my constantly-growing education in the field in which I have chosen as my profession.. I feel humbled and extremely fortunate to have been able to experience what I previously thought was a simple process. Now I know better.

Now I know how many hands our coffee gets passed through before making it to U.S. soil and how many coffee cherries and beans don’t make the cut. How many stages of sorting and monitoring to ensure that what is labeled as ‘The Finest’ truly is the absolute and up-most finest coffee. And most importantly, I got to see how seriously they take their work on Aida Batlle’s farms and at the J. Hill Mill. Everybody that I had the pleasure of meeting, had a level of expertise with what they were doing, that I could only hope to attain in my field. I have returned to L.A. truly impressed, mind-blown and extremely excited for the fruits of our new relationship to be picked and enjoyed!! A big hug and THANK YOU to Aida Batlle, Mario Mendoza, Stumptown and everyone else who made this trip what it was. Very exciting things in the making!

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