El Salvador Coffee is Impacting Education in the Shadow of an Extinct Volcano

El Salvador Coffee is Impacting Education in the Shadow of an Extinct Volcano

At Copper Moon Coffee, we like to say, “We care about your coffee from crop-to-cup and every step in-between.” Ever since the Gutwein brothers became captivated by coffee in 2007, we have remained focused on sourcing sustainably-grown arabica coffee beans from thriving farmers worldwide. To this end, our SEE Copper Moon Rising coffee bean sourcing program plays a significant role in our mission to handcraft out-of-this-world coffee.

One important region where we source some of our USDA Organic and Single Origin coffee comes from Central America’s mountain ranges. A few of these sources are located in the smallest (and most densely populated) country in Central America, El Salvador. Known as “the land of the volcanoes,” their mineral-rich volcanic soil is perfect for growing coffee; this is also why our El Salvador Single Origin comes from the Chalatenango region in the east. And it’s why we work with farms in the Apaneca-Ilamatepec mountains in the west.

Earlier this year, Cary Gutwein, President of Copper Moon Coffee, had the opportunity to visit the Dutriz Farm, one of our partner growers in western El Salvador. When talking about his sourcing trip, Cary said, “Don Jose Roberto Dutriz and his son, Jose Carlos Dutriz, are hardworking and trustworthy men who are well-respected in their community and good stewards of their environment. We are grateful to be roasting the coffee they grow and harvest. We believe trust is a two-way street. So we only partner with people we trust, who can also trust us. Solid relationships are essential for sustainability.”

In Focus: Dutriz Farms in El Pilon & Jacaranda, El Salvador

The Dutriz family has farmed and exported coffee for more than 30 years. During that time, Jose Roberto has been both an entrepreneur and a leader in his community of Valle de Los Naranjos. His coffee farms and philanthropic work have had a positive impact on hundreds of workers and their families.

The Dutriz family provides the men and women who work on their farms with fair wages and benefits. The farms they own are among the few employers in the region who have been providing jobs to the community for more than two decades. Their 175-acre Finca El Pilon Farm (one source of Copper Moon Coffee) has been operating since 1997 and owned by the Dutriz family since 2017.

In addition to providing a fair wage and exceptional working conditions, the farm also offers lodging for workers who come from nearby towns outside their local community. Twelve different families each live in their own house with “potable water” (safe drinking water) and electricity, two essentials that are not always available in El Salvador. The farm also offers direct support to families in their community by financing schools, clinics, and making a positive social impact in the surrounding communities around their farms.

Within their Jacaranda Farm, there is a school that both educates and economically supports more than 540 elementary and high school students every year. The school provides instruction in English and has different technology programs to prepare children for the future. While giving an education to children of their farmworkers’ is a priority, the school’s doors are also open to all children in their local community. A noteworthy impact given that almost 20% of children do not make it to the 9th Grade, and 6% do not even attend school in El Salvador.

Tropical Rainforest Conservation & an Extinct Volcano

Located in a region near the Pacific Ocean, the Dutriz Farms are among the rainforests of Apaneca-Ilamatepec, a volcanic mountain range in western El Salvador. Their farm sits in the shadow of an extinct volcano amidst a primary forest (old-grown), which they also protect, with altitudes ranging from 1,400–1,700 meters (4,500–5,600 feet) above sea level.

James Hoffman wrote about this region of El Salvador in his book The World Atlas of Coffee, stating, “With a reputation for great quality, this area produces many competition-winning coffees, despite the volcanic activity here…This is the largest producing region of the country, and it was probably here that coffee was first cultivated in El Salvador.”

To help maintain the rainforest on this extinct volcano, a vast area of ​​the farm is dedicated to forest conservation according to guidelines set forth by the Rainforest Alliance, an international non-profit working to protect forests and improve the livelihoods of farmers and forest communities. The Finca El Pilon farm is actively focused on increasing its production while renovating its plantations to balance nature.

Several practices are maintained to protect the ecosystem and biodiversity of the plantation. To reduce plastic use, their coffee farmers use biodegradable material when transplanting coffee trees in the nursery. And any products which could damage the coffee trees, the soil where they plant, or the workers who harvest the coffee—are not allowed on the farm. To go one step further in their environmental commitment, a significant part of the water used on the farm was collected during the rainfall and stored in tanks for a future dry season. And as certified shade-grown coffee plantations, their coffee plants are grown under a canopy of trees that provide shade from the sun.

After the coffee beans are grown and harvested from the plantations, workers bring them to a coop-mill called Cooperativa La Majada. It’s here where they apply a wet mill process before being bagged and shipped the 2,930 miles to our roastery in Lafayette, Indiana.

Why not try one of our coffees sourced from El Salvador today?

USDA Organic Coffee

Single Origin Coffee

Central America Coffee