Aida’s Grand Reserve

El Salvador Grand Reserve, Beans 2

[Counter Culture Coffee]( has stepped up to the plate again with their new limited offering, El Salvador Grand Reserve Peaberry aka [Aida’s Grand Reserve]( This coffee was hotly debated in our cupping room and has since spread across vines; [Phil](, & [Jon]( are on board, as well it looks like [Murky](, 3 Cups, Pheasant Creek and a few others might actually have this darling on tap. That is if you’re ready for the new price ceiling of $45 a bag, that would break down to relatively 5.60 for a cup of coffee.

There are a lot of questions when you start delving into coffee. Most people don’t understand the sacrifice to the land and to the people for that .59c cup of joe at the gas station. Then again most people don’t understand their own local food chain, getting them to understand a foreign one is an even greater challenge. I asked [PeterG]( to help me understand what is going on here. I can be sold on ideas, I love new ideas! Here are a few choice selections from our conversation:

>Aida sorted peaberries from her three farms, which happen to be the three most desirable farms in El Salvador, from the coffee buyer’s perspective. Because she has a direct and very open relationship with her buyers, she approached us for input on what she should do with this coffee: i.e. submit it to the cup of excellence, offer it at private auction, etc.

>[…] Remember, the last time Aida’s farms saw auction they set records for the most ever paid for coffee (Kilimanjaro in 2003) and was the first-ever time a coffee producer had two coffees finish in the finals of a Cup of Excellence (also 2003). In contrast to the Petersons’ Esmeralda, Aida has shied away from the flashy auctions, and instead opted for direct, transparent, and committed transactions. Putting this coffee out to bid just was not consistent with that philosophy.

>[…] coffees at this level are about nuance rather than flash.

Peter and I agree on a lot. We want the coffee growers to feel like they can grow, can flourish, evolve without the bastardizing megaconglomerates taking whatever they want from the land and paying the individual less than sustainable. We also know that coffee in it’s next form is in it’s infancy. We are just now coming to terms with genetic impacts beyond anything our forefathers ever knew. It’s an exciting time to be in coffee as long as the world holds together.

What does this cup offer us beyond my notes below? It’s exactly what you want in a cup, just enough brightness, a smoothness paralleled only by other fantastic coffees, a stability that you’d expect from an award winning coffee. There are a myriad of little subtle notes that require a little inversion to meditate on. It really is a beautiful assembly roasted by artisans.

To me it’s a great step in the continued growth of the specialty community. To my father who drinks Folgers pods I doubt I will be able to get him to consider this a viable alternative. However the continued exposure I and others bring to these gems in an ocean of mediocrity it is my hope that we can continue to strive for that higher bar as humanists and nurturing better products out of the environment.

Cupping Notes

El Salvador Grand Reserve, CoG 2


* Dried Fruit
* Lavender
* Peach Fuzz
* Milk Chocolate


* Leather
* Tea like
* Green Grape Skin
* Cashew

On Break

El Salvador Grand Reserve, Press

* Plum
* Wet Soil


* 5:10
* 6:10
* Snappy


* Cashew / Macadamia
* Caramel Sauce

El Salvador Grand Reserve, in the cup

* Pear or Grape Skin
* Cardamom


* Nice Coating
* Expected
* Round


* Clean Finish
* Light Cling
* Very Stable

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