Five years ago, Stephanie Andersen-Samayoa left the U.S. and went to El Salvador to take over her great-grandfather's coffee plantation that had been abandoned for years.

It seemed like a romantic adventure, but her career as a textile and glass artisan when she lived in Chicago left her unprepared for the challenge that awaited. The jungle that had encroached on the land where the Bourbon coffee trees grew had to be cleared away. She had to learn about the ins and outs of coffee growing by trial and error.

Three years ago, Andersen-Samayoa started growing the coffee organically and is working toward obtaining organic certification.

During a phone conversation with Andersen-Samayoa when she was in San Francisco recently, she said she was in heaven the day she sat in the hacienda her great-grandfather had built 100 years ago and took the first sip of the coffee from her plantation.

"The coffee has a nutty, chocolate undertone to the flavor, and it's not bitter because the coffee here is very low in acidity," she explained.

About a year ago she decided to take charge of roasting the beans and exporting them to the United States.

Now her Finca de Angeles coffee, in medium or French roast ($12.50 per pound) is available at The Fish Guy Market, owned by her former husband, Bill Dugan, who is a partner in her coffee venture.

Former Chicagoan brings us a taste of
El Salvador

Nancy Maes-Good Eats section
October 14, 2009
Chicago Tribune
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