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THE STORY OF OUR FIRST COFFEE

THE STORY OF OUR FIRST COFFEE

When we opened in 2008, we were committed to seeking out relationships with coffee producers whose work inspired us, so we purchased Gloria Rodriguez’s Cup of Excellence winning coffee. Over the past decade, we’ve had the chance to exchange numerous visits with one another, partnering together to offer dozens of coffees across her and her family’s farms in Apaneca, El Salvador.

Coffee seedlings

Gloria is a 4th generation farmer based in the breezy, cool region of Apaneca. Gloria runs a true family business with her children, Maria-Jose, Roberto, and son-in-law, Luis, whom we’ve dubbed “The Rodriguez Family.” Throughout the years, we’ve been able to see the Rodriguez Family grow up. From Gloria’s grandchild being born and growing into nearly a young adult, we’ve also watched the farm transition vintage-to-vintage, continually delighted with what each season brings.

At the core of the Rodriguez Family’s work are relationships: relationship with the land, relationship with their workers, and relationship with their partners along the coffee chain. This year we’ve had the opportunity to release a few cult favorites alongside a couple of new separations from the Rodriguez Family Farms. All of the coffee from the Rodriguez Family is limited, while a few are exceptionally limited, only available on the menu for a couple weeks.

Coffee worker in El Salvador

EL PORVENIR

El Porvenir, which translates to “The Future” or “Things to Come”, fittingly was the first coffee we selected to share at Madcap when we opened. Though the elevation at El Porvenir sits lower than most of our line-up, the area fosters a special terroir, benefiting from cool nights and constant wind, while growing some of our favorite varieties: Bourbon and Typica. Intention and care are woven throughout every step with the most diligent picking we’ve seen anywhere, delivering an absolutely lovely expression of the coffee from this area. Drinking El Porvenir is familiar, comforting, and feels like hanging out with an old friend. This years vintage tastes like chocolate brownies, subtle citrus, and caramel. We have twenty five bags of this coffee available and expect to have it on the menu for approximately two months.

INTENTION AND CARE ARE WOVEN THROUGHOUT EVERY STEP, WITH THE MOST DILIGENT PICKING WE’VE SEEN ANYWHERE

Freshly harvested coffee cherries

ELEFANTE VIEJO

Mysterious coffee trees were discovered on the Rodriguez Family farms about a decade ago. The origin was unknown, but these naturally mutating trees had some resemblances of their neighboring trees, Bourbon and Typica. Although the fruit it produced was twice as dense, much larger, and contained up to five times more juice than it’s neighboring varieties, the Rodríguezes’ decided to harvest a small separation and see what it tasted like. The result was one of the juiciest and most interesting coffees they had encountered. Somehow, I convinced them to sell me all of the micro-lot that first year.

The Elefante Viejo is a separation of these few original trees that still exist on their farms and grow at 1400 meters. This coffee is laced with lavender floral, deep dark fruit juiciness, and cocoa, with spice complexity on the finish. Elefante Viejo is a rare opportunity to enjoy coffee from the old vines that brought us this new and exciting flavor over the years.

ELEFANTE NUEVO

When the Rodriguez Family discovered Elefante in those mysterious trees, they concurred with a few friends about the potential of this coffee variety and began collecting seeds from those trees, planting a new plot of Elefante at the highest peak of their farms at 1700 meters. Last year, this plot began producing it’s first fruits. The Elefante Nuevo is a separation of this first cultivation of “new vine” Elefante. The coffee presents itself youthfully, in contrast with Viejo, holding superb acidity, white tea, dried flowers, and delicate, soft fruits throughout.

Coffee seedlings

PACAMARA, LA GLORIA

Pacamara is a hybrid that came on the scene about half a century ago and, produced in El Salvador. The hybrid is a mix of Pacas and Maragopipe, producing seeds that are large with low density. Pacamara is known for its intense acidity and wild complexity. It’s important to note though that Pacamara from La Gloria is in a league of its own. We’ve been head over heels for this coffee for years, and each year, this is my favorite Pacamara I taste. This particular coffee is grown at 1550 meters on a plot named La Gloria (just up the road from El Porvenir), filled with bright lemon, fuzzy peach, pound cake, and lemon grass.

With another exceptional lineup from the Rodriguez Family this season, each of these coffees sparkle with their own unique character and complexities. If you are in Grand Rapids, stop by one of our cafes to experience these with us in person, or buy a bag online (we recommend the Elefante Set). For both Madcap and the Rodriguez Family, relationship and partnership remains central to what we do, with this season leaving us looking expectantly towards the many years ahead and all the delicious coffees that we will drink from the Rodriguez Family.

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