Montecarlos - Gesha - 2020

Montecarlos - Gesha - 2020


Aromatics of creamy milk chocolate, subtle florals, and toasted almond introduce a complex cup offering rich flavors of red berries, bittersweet cocoa, and a gentle citric note reminiscent of clementine.

Carlos Batres inherited Montecarlos in the mid-1980s. The fifth generation of his family to steward this land, Batres has made Montecarlos his life’s work. In 2018, the Montecarlos Estate released its first harvest of the gesha variety, produced from seeds that Carlos obtained from none other than the famed Hacienda La Esmeralda in Panama. This 2020 harvest marks the third consecutive year that we have been proud to feature the Montecarlos Gesha on Passenger’s reserve lot menu.

In the mid-1980’s Carlos Batres was living in London representing El Salvador at the International Coffee Organization. During this time the coffee market was regulated by quotas in which a target price was set, and export quotas allocated to each producer. When the indicator price set by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) fell below the target price, quotas were decreased (to check supply and demand); if it rose above it, quotas were increased (ditto). Although the system had its problems, it was successful in raising and stabilizing the price of coffee. The quota system temporarily broke down, due to the 1985 drought in Brazil, and Carlos went back to live in El Salvador representing Goldman Sachs and General Foods Maxwell House. During this time Carlos inherited a farm in Apaneca, El Salvador.

While the Montecarlos story starts with Carlos Batres inheriting a farm, it was his vision of what the farm could be and his passion for coffee that have made Montecarlos what it is now. Carlos inherited the mill, which dates back to the 1870’s, and has been in the family for five generations. However, to create the Montecarlos of today took decades. Year by year Carlos purchased land with the goal of owning the entire volcano upon which Montecarlos sits. Carlos and his partner Julie Batres now own the entire volcano which sits in a chain of volcanic cones, two of which have been active in the recent past.

The 2020 harvest marks the fourth consecutive year of Passenger’s ongoing foundational partnership with Carlos and Julie. The primary varieties that are produced on the estate are Caturra, Bourbon, Catuaí, Pacamara, and Gesha. This year, Passenger’s green buying team selected the Catuaí to serve as our Foundational Montecarlos offering as well as this lovely gesha selection that we are proud to add to the Reserve Lot menu, just in time for the holidays.

Montecarlos Estate

Montecarlos Estate, located in the Apaneca municipality in the Ahuachapán department of El Salvador, is a truly breathtaking farm. Stunning landscapes and awe-inspiring vistas are in great abundance in coffee producing countries. One never tires of seeing lush vegetation adorn mountain tops while driving down bucolic roads and through small provincial towns.

Carlos and Julie Batres, owners of Montecarlos Estate.

Ripe Bourbon Coffee Cherry going into the floating tanks at Montecarlos Estate in Apaneca, El Salvador.

Carlos Batres owns and runs Montecarlos Estate with his wife, Julie. Carlos was born in El Salvador and Julie in Cuba. The farm has been in Carlos’ family since 1870, when his great, great grandfather, Rafael Moran started it.

As frequently happens in Latin America, the farm was handed down generation by generation, being split amongst siblings with each generation. By the time Carlos inherited land (five generations and any number of siblings/cousins later) the parcel he received was a fraction of the original total. Carlos, having already experienced great success in the coffee industry (though not as a producer), decided at that time to convince his wife Julie to take the farm on as a pet project. Thirty some years later and this pet project continues to unfold and expand as Carlos continues to acquire more and more land from neighbors. In its current form, this impressive farm is 500 hectares in size (1,235 acres), 400 of which are planted in coffee and 100 of which is rainforest.

Learn more about Montecarlos Estate

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