El Salvador has been traditionally known for bigger estates in Santa Ana. San Ignacio Chalatenango wasn't really on the map until the Cup of Excellence came into existence. The first year of CoE, Santa Ana was in the top 10 places. The second year Chalatenango was "discovered." This area has had good results due to its Pacamara variety and significant climate difference from Santa Ana; it's a much cooler climate.
It is a hard area to access. Coffee is traded in parchment here, so this complicates things a bit. Our green buyer has to buy the coffee in parchment and find a mill to prepare it in green exportable coffee. This brings some risks, such as yield risk - each coffee will yield various amounts of green depending on the amount of defects.
Our green buyer has been personally criticised by some Santa Ana producers for buying coffee in this area - one producer asked him why he was buying coffee there, claiming it was "stolen" due to the nature of how it's bought and sold (a lot of times, cash in hand); another producer questioned him why he was buying directly from producers and not through an exporter. The answer is simple: to access the best quality coffee.
Finca El Diamante is 3 small lots planted with both the Pacas and Pacamara variety. This coffee is a selection of only Pacas. Once the coffee is ripe its picked and immediately de-pulped. The beans are then fermented for up to 24 hours before being washed three times and placed on raised beds to dry for 14–17 days.
Rodolfo Pineda checks the drying of his coffee regularly to quality control. His checks include sticking a long pole into the coffee and seeing if it will move, or if the mucilage is sticky and hard enough to hold it upright.