I am a coffee lover, in fact is more than love….it’s an infatuation. It all started a long time ago, when I was about 7 years old. I grew up in El Salvador, a tiny but mountainous Central American country that grows decadent coffee. Over there, coffee is not just your morning black drink, it is a way of life. It is part of our culture, it is ingrained in our daily routine. It becomes part of who we are.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez said that “life is not how we lived it, but how we remembered it to tell it.” These are my earliest memories about coffee in our house.

coffee beans
Coffee beans

I went to the market with my grandmother, she usually bought somewhere between 5-8 lbs of coffee beans. She roasted the beans at home in our second kitchen, with burning wood. She had a comal (small disk made out of clay, it’s typically use to cook hand made tortillas)

We went back home and washed the beans and then sun dried them. Once they were all dried up, the beans were toasted to our preference. My grand father usually ground the toasted beans, we had a manual grinder at home. Finally, the coffee was stored away in its own special container. Plenty of times I inserted my entire face in the container and took a deep breath, I loved the unique scent of  freshly ground coffee… it smells so exquisite. I asked my grandmother: “How come there’s not a perfume with this scent??” and my grandmother laughed. It was so wonderful I could shower myself in that smell. My family was involved in this process, as I said is not just a drink.

Wood burning kitchen with a comal

In the morning my grandmother added an espresso shot to the milk, and in the afternoon coffee  was our VIP guest at the dinner table. They didn’t lose any sleep over this cup of coffee, I think is because there were no additives since the coffee was processed at our home.

I started drinking coffee when I was about 7 years old. I wanted to drink it because my grandparents were drinking it. Same thing happened to my hubby, he started to drink it because his parents were drinking it. Kids always try to emulate what their parents do, be aware.

My grandma’s coffee had a special flavor. Whenever my aunt visited, she wasn’t happy until she had her afternoon coffee. She said no other coffee could taste like this one.

Manual grinder for meat of coffee

In the afternoon, Salvadoreans drink coffee with friends and of course delicious sweet bread  is a must. My husband stills drinks his coffee in the afternoon along with sweet bread or cookies. I, on the other hand, drink my black coffee every  morning.

Back in the day, coffee was the main source of revenue not only for El Salvador but for other Central American nations. It was called the golden bean. But all that changed after 1929, the Great Depression of the USA caused coffee’s price to plummet. Up until this day, harvesting coffee continues in El Salvador.  It has been an important part of our history and it will continue to be for generations to come.

As you can see, I was involved in the buying, washing, drying, roasting, and grinding of the coffee. I wasn’t involved in the first part of this process: planting, growing and harvesting. However, I had the opportunity to look into the harvesting process very closely while traveling in Guatemala, but that is material for a different post… 🙂




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