El Salvador Santa Isabel “Pulp Natural”

Like most Central American coffees, this “Pulp Natural” from the Republic of El Salvador doesn’t have any lingering flavour which most people associate with bodiness. This coffee however retains some lasting body perhaps thanks to the particular roast. I would term this roast as a “long” Full City; oils are slightly apparent on the outside of the dark coloured bean.

roasted coffee beans closeup

Santa Isabel is a region in the north-western part of the country near Guatemala where some of the more flavourful Central American coffees come from. It is an Arabica (pronounced air-uh-bee-ka) bean which usually means it is grown higher on the slope and almost always has a better, superior flavour to the low-grown Robusta (which is used for coffees like Folgers).

Brewed in our French Press the crema is dark which is different than most brews as the crema is usually ecru. No clue why this is, simply wanted to point it out.

coffee cup with beans example and carafe

The coffee is sweet but not in a sugary way. This is due to the “Pulp Natrual” drying process. The beans are dried with the cherry pulp which means that, in the long run, they are less processed than regular coffee beans.

Overall and interesting coffee. I am usually weary of Central American coffees. You can generally count of pretty much all coffees from Guatemala and Costa Rica (Mmm… La Manita Tarrazu) but everything else I’ve tried makes generally for bland coffee (when roasted Full City). Good for blends of course, but on their own I tend not to like them.


  1. Hello Matthew,
    This is the first time I read an article from your website. I live in El Salvador and while reading about this Santa Isabel coffee I’m wondering about the part where you say “Santa Isabel is a region in the north-western part of the country near Guatemala”. As far as I know there is no region under that name, so you probably meant that it is a Estate Farm. Anyways, I just wanted to share this with you and also thank you for all your frank comments about our coffees. Interesting website, I’ll keep visiting!
    Take care.

  2. Hey Elvy,

    Good catch. Rereading that sentence I should have written “estate.” Sorry about that. Not sure why I missed that since I am not a coffee newbie. :)

    Also, my “frank comments” are only my opinions. I’ve just never been a fan of Central American coffees, but I am willing to let people try to change my mind.

    Coffee, it cures what ails you!

  3. Hello from a fellow 9ruler!

    Technically, you don’t get crema in a French press, only from a high pressure espresso machine. The froth in a press comes from the “bloom” which is the hot water reacting with gasses in the fresh coffee. The fresher the coffee, the more froth and bloom.

    As for Central American coffees, most are as you say a “classic cup” without a huge amount of distinction (I’ve reviewed Santa Isabel myself). But there are some really fine coffees if you dig around. My favorite is a Honduras (El Puente) which I’ve also reviewed. One of my favorite things about coffee is looking for the great ones!

  4. I see now you a a former barista. I should shut up about crema and bloom and stick to opinions on taste and sustainability in coffee growing, stuff I know something about! Mea culpa!

  5. Crema is how I would describe some of the froth I get in my French Press. Same color, oiliness. This batch of coffees have all been dark with the froth. Still, taste is the true test! :)

    Granted I’ve been out of the barista/roaster life for a few years now. And as I said, I am open to having my mind changed as that would mean I would be drinking coffee.

    Shouldn’t that be mea cupa? ;)

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