As I sit here at terminal – gate 68 – in KCI airport, I am remembering my last trip to El Salvador.  This will be my second trip there since the first of the year.The first trip, in January, was to examine the crops and the damage caused by a horrible wind storm at Finca Los Planes and Finca La Montana. Finca Los Planes  is one of our favorite Relationship Coffee farms. It’s in the Chalentenango region of Salvador very close to the Honduras border. When I visited in January I got a small sampling of what the storm that caused so much damage must have been like to live through. We stayed at the farm in a brand new cottage that Sergio and Isabel established to host us on our visits to the farm. It’s a small home but very warm with the personalities of the owners every where. The view is breath taking. But late in the night, as the winds picked up, it felt as though the tin roof were going to lift right off of the small structure. Sleeping was difficult, if not nerve racking. But as morning came and aroma of coffee came from the front room, I knew one of my favorite coffees, Los Planes Pacamara was soon at hand and everything seemed normal again.Finca La Montana was not as lucky as finca Los Planes. Los Planes suffered only mild damage during that December storm. La Montana was completely destroyed. His entire crop was ruined by the high winds. Finca owner Beto Ochoa was at home that night when the storm came and destroyed his farm. He tells the story on our website (he speaks in spanish) if you visit this link. Many coffee roasters around the world have rallied to help Ochoa, last years Cup of Excellence winner,  get back on his feet and survive this year and possibly next with out an income from coffee. So I’m sitting here in the airport awaiting my flight that will take me back to San Salvador to be on the international jury for the El Salvador Cup of Excellence. Its a very exciting time for the farmers who hope to win the competition and make a windfall for there hard work.Finca Los Planes received second place in the 2006 Cup of Excellence and we have purchased their coffee every since. In fact this year we will purchase up to 80% of their crop. Including a substantial amount of Bourbon variety and Reserva del Mandador Peaberry to compliment the Pacamara variety that we already purchase from the Ticas. We have made wonderful friends in Sergio and Isabel and look forward to visiting the farm again this Tuesday with the other international cuppers who will be attending the Cup of Excellence this year.  In addition to Los Planes we are also bringing in a number of other coffees from El Salvador this year. Including the coffee that finished first in the 2006 Cup of Excellence, Finca Las Mercedes. More on this coffee later. But I’m sure you will love this coffee. It’s a very special coffee, family and farm that we look forward to introducing to you later this summer.Of course we will also have our Orange Bourbon again this year and a small amount of Aida’s Grand Reserve and coffee from Finca Kilimanjaro.  It’s going to be an outstanding offering from El Salvador this year. And this trip is to take part in the Cup of Excellence and celebrate a wonderful harvest. A toast to the great coffees from the 2007/2008 Salavdoran farmers who produce the outstanding crops.Jeff Taylor, Coffee Buyer for PTs Coffee Roasting Co.