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 2023 harvest marks the sixth consecutive year of Passenger’s ongoing foundational partnership with Carlos and Julie. The primary varieties produced on the estate are caturra, bourbon, catuaí, pacamara, and gesha. This year, Passenger’s green buying team selected the bourbon to serve as our Foundational Montecarlos offering, as well as two Education Lots featuring fresh separations of the pacamara and gesha varieties. True to the consistency we’ve come to expect from Montecarlos, each selection has yet again met or surpassed the quality we’ve tasted in past harvests. While we’ve historically released the gesha and pacamara varieties on our Reserve Lot menu, this year we’ve decided to draw attention to these two distinct and storied varieties by featuring them as part of our Education Lot menu. As our Education Lot menu in part aims to feature unique stories that highlight plant genetics, it seemed fitting that we put additional focus on these special variety separations as we continue to define our ongoing partnership with Montecarlos and the Batres family.
- 1600-1800 masl
Situated on a stunningly picturesque volcano in El Salvador’s Apaneca region, the Montecarlos Estate is a truly remarkable coffee farm and a fitting testament to the passion of its visionary proprietors Carlos and Julie Batres.
Each year, Passenger’s green buying team selects one of the main varieties cultivated on the farm (caturra, catuaí, or bourbon) to serve as our Foundational Montecarlos offering, as well as the base component of our Stowaway Blend. With each annual harvest, we also traditionally purchase special selections of two additional varieties from the farm, pacamara and gesha, that have become well-loved staples of the Reserve Lot menu.
While the Batres family’s investment in top quality coffee production is clearly evident in each and every cup of Montecarlos, their commitment to making a positive impact in their local community is equally notable. Through decades of growth and evolution, Carlos and Julie have earned a well-deserved reputation as kind and generous employers: paying their workers well above national minimum wage, offering stable employment for individuals that might otherwise be forced to live on the move as migrant laborers, and investing in schools, road improvements, and accommodations for the local police force.