National Zoo Features Bird Friendly® Coffee from El Salvador

October 14, 2009 by Robert Rice


Golden Valley Farms, a Bird Friendly® coffee roaster near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is now the roaster for all coffee served to visitors at the National Zoo. The coffee comes from the unique Santa Teresa Estate in El Salvador owned by Marco and Teresa Batres.

The Santa Teresa Coffee Estate, operated by the Batres family for more than a century, is really an active volcano turned into a coffee estate. It may be the only coffee plantation in the world surrounded by geysers and thermal springs. A total farm area of 65 hectares (160 acres) sits in a mountain range nestled between Antigua, Guatemala and the Apaneca/Ilamatepec volcanic range of El Salvador.

The certified organic, Bird Friendly® (certified shade) coffee grows between 900 and 1,400 meters (3,000 and 4,600 feet) above sea level. The beans are processed with warm mineral springs water in Santa Teresa's eco-friendly coffee mill. This mill is the only known mill in the world that uses geothermal energy, a management aspect that won the farm the 2003 National Environmental Award and the 2006 Central American Environmental Innovation Award.

Marco Batres uses geothermal energy to pre-dry the coffee, evaporate the industrial waters, to pump warm mineral water to de-pulp and wash the beans, and to produce organic fertilizers.

coffee promotion with bird

Graphic used on a bag of coffee served at the National Zoo.

big bag of coffee

"Onsen" Coffee from the Batres Farms. The word "onsen" is a Japanese word for "hot springs" or "thermal baths", and refers to the hydrothermal washing of the coffee beans. High potassium content in these waters gives the coffee a special characteristic that has helped land it repeatedly as a highly ranked coffee the taste contest known as the International Cup of Excellence.

The combination of an ideal mountain climate, fertile volcanic soil and pure warm springs mineral water used to process the coffee gives Santa Teresa's coffee beans their superb specialty coffee taste. Santa Teresa's Pacamara and Bourbon coffees have received numerous national and international Awards, including the 2009 and 2008 Cup of Excellence, a competitive event where only world-class coffees come out on top.

Some of the traits that helped Santa Teresa Estate coffee win the Cup of Excellence:

  • Organic practices the farm
  • Organic fertilizer application
  • Weed control is performed solely by hand
  • Yucca elephantipe barriers control erosion

Harvest takes place between November and February. The farm offers medical care and salaries above the industry standard to its workers. Santa Teresa won 8th Place this year and 16th place last year in El Salvador's Cup of Excellence.

Farm data:

  • Coffee growing area: 14 hectares
  • Altitude: 900 to 1,400 meters (3,000 to 4,600 feet) above sea level
  • Variety: Pacamara
  • Processing System: Washed and sundried
  • 2009 CoE International Jury Score: 89.34

Having Santa Teresa Estate's "Bird Friendly®" coffee as the coffee of choice here at the National Zoo is an excellent way to connect Zoo visitors—and anyone else fortunate enough to drink this coffee—to the grand phenomenon of bird migration, habitat protection and science conducted with an aim toward conservation. The SMBC staff welcomes both the Batres family and the staff at Golden Valley Farms in our quest to educate coffee consumers about the coffee-bird connections and to link conservation to the market place.

Contact information for these farms:

Batres Farms-Santa Teresa, Tempisque, y Maxtapulat
Contact: Marco y Teresa Batres
Calle La Loma No. 214
Colonia Escalón, San Salvador, El Salvador
Telephone: work(503) 2264-8025