Nicaragua’s premier coffee region is the Nueva Segovia, notably around Cordillera de Dipilto to Jalapa, the mountainous region that runs along the Honduran border and is renowned for producing Cup of Excellence winning lots. The high altitude, excellent climatic conditions and close proximity to the mills all contribute to the exceptional quality of the coffee.
Roger Peralta and his family have owned the beautiful 80 hectare Finca La Argentina since 1920. It is located a steep 30-minute drive from the local mill town of Ocotal (Nueva Segovia’s capital), deep in the stunning mountain forest where many varieties of indigenous tree and types of flora and fauna flourish, providing ample shade for the Caturra, Catuai and Javanica that grows there.
Finca La Argentina is managed by Juan Carlos together with 40 permanent employees and 150 pickers during the harvest.
The Micro Lot Project
Speciality grower and roaster of ‘Peralta Coffees’, Julio Peralta envisioned a sustainable future for Nicaraguan coffee through the export and promotion of individual micro lots. He encouraged his family and fellow farmers to explore new ways of growing coffee and passionately believes his country possesses the complex conditions and technical facilities needed to create extraordinary flavours in the cup.
As a result of this dedicated approach, there are now several of his family farms working to produce distinct characteristics by marketing individual lots as opposed to mass producing for export. In recent years several of the farms involved in this practice have been award winning at Cup of Excellence competitions. Through micro lot production, Julio uses the resultant information to make decisions on which varieties and processes work best for each farm. Last year’s results were truly outstanding and, with the on-going threat of ‘roya’ and a volatile world market, this venture could contribute towards safeguarding coffee farmers in Nicaragua for the long-term.
To decide which areas are to be harvested as micro lots, a brix refractometer measures the sugar content of the cherries across different expanses in each farm - ideally around 22%. Ripe cherries are then picked according to the process they will undergo (natural, red honey, yellow honey etc.) and water siphons are employed to select the best quality cherries and separate defect fruits. If the lot is to be a red honey, cherries are crushed with mucilage intact; if yellow honey, the cherries are pulped to remove the skin and some mucilage before being dried; for natural processed lots, fully-ripe cherries are hand-picked and left to dry with both pulp and mucilage intact for a longer period of time. For each micro lot the entire drying process takes place in the newly built parabolic dryer at the San Ignacio mill in the municipality of Mozonte, Nueva Segovia.
Costa Rica Don Miguel Microlot
This lot of honey processed coffee has been harvested from the farms of ASOPROAAA member producers. Members deliver their coffee to the ASOPROAAA mill in Acosta where it is separated, to ensure traceability, and processed using either the washed, honey or natural methods. ASOPROAA utilize raised beds and patios to sun-dry. The coffee is processed, stored and dry milled at the ASOPROAAA mill. The Association of Agricultural Producers of Acosta and Asserí, ASOPROAAA, was established in September 1998, following the devastating destruction in the region by Hurricane Mitch.
The association consists of more than 1,100 families producing coffee, citrus and farming cattle in the areas of Acosta, Jorco and Palmichal. ASOPROAAA offers financial, commercial and technical assistance to members, and employs dedicated programs to improve the livelihoods of members of the community. More than 2000 houses were built for people with limited resources as part of a special program initiated by the association. ASOPROAAA has been influential in the revival of agricultural production in the area following Hurricane Mitch, and a pioneer in the processing of micro lots by its members. Lots from ASOPROAAA have won numerous quality awards in addition to regularly placing in the finals of the Cup of Excellence competition.
Altitude: 1350-1450 masl
Location: Tarrazu, Acosta
Cup Score: 86
Harvest: December - March
Shipment : Feb - May
Variety : Caturra, Catuai
Sumatra Buana Mandiri
Not all of the thousands of islands that form the Indonesian archipelago have the right conditions for growing coffee, but Sumatra is one of the few that does. Following early success with planting coffee in Java at the beginning of the 18th century, coffee was then introduced to Sumatra, initially to the northern region of Aceh around Lake Tawar. Today coffee is still widely produced in these northern regions of Aceh (Takengon, Bener Mariah) as well as in the Lake Toba region (Lintong Nihuta, Dairi-Sidikalang, Siborongborong, Dolok Sanggul, and Seribu Dolok) to the southwest of Medan.
Coffee farms are also located in the subdistrict of Bener Meriah, in the province of Aceh, home of Gayonese people. Buana Mandiri is produced in the area surrounding the village of Pondok Ulung, by 1,009 smallholder farming families who belong to the co-op. As is common in Sumatra, the farmers who grow coffee is this region have very small pieces of farm land, with each owning less than 1 hectare, ranging from altitudes of 1200 to 1500 metres above sea level. On these farms, pulp is the main source of fertilizer and animals are generally fed with vegetation and tree leaves, that also serve as shade for coffee trees. During the coffee off-season, farmers grow other farm products such as chilli and yam to support their families.
Sumatran coffees are mainly processed using a unique semi-washed method, which is sometimes described as “wet-hulled”, known locally as Giling Basah. In this process the coffee is picked, machine pulped (usually on the individual smallholding) and then partly sun dried. The parchment is then removed revealing a whitish coloured, swollen green bean. The drying is then completed on the patio where the seed quickly turns a dark green colour, unique to Sumatra. This method brings about more body and often more of the character that makes Indonesian coffees so unique. Another common term in the Sumatran preparation is Double Picking (DP) which means that beans are hand-picked twice for defects so as to obtain an exportable product with maximum 11 defects.
Buana Mandiri is both Fairtrade and Organic certified.
Dark chocolate, baking spices, dried fruit. Big body and sweet with a long aftertaste.
Ethiopia is widely regarded as the birth place of coffee. The legend of Kaldi, the goat herder that allegedly discovered the effects of the bright red cherries growing wild in the Ethiopian forest, is pervasive. The legend likely bears some resemblance to the truth despite the dramatisation added in the telling of the tale. The fact that Coffee is native to Ethiopia is indisputable and this becomes clear when one walks into the famous forest coffee plantations. Growing happily amongst the native forest are the healthiest and happiest coffee trees you’ll see anywhere in the world. Organic production is widespread in Ethiopia where in many countries this is completely unviable due to pervasive disease. It may be the diversity afforded by the forest growing environment slows the spread of disease. There are many contributing factors to the uniqueness of Ethiopian coffee from the growing systems to the diversity of varieties. The result is a country filled with coffee that is some of the best quality in the world.
Gidey Berhe is the owner of Limu Kossa Agro Industry PLC. It’s not a very catchy name for a coffee farm, so we decided, with his blessing, to name the coffee after the man himself. Located far in the West of Ethiopia in an area known as Limu Kossa, Gidey farms his coffee on a 350 hectare farm that sits at 1840-2130 meters above sea level. The farm is meticulously maintained, from the trees to the signs dividing the lot sections. The land was once wild forest and has been thinned slightly to accommodate the coffee, but the feeling of quiet solitude pervades amongst the native trees.
The coffee is picked by 400 seasonal workers employed during harvest season. At the farm’s collection station, green cherries are sorted out before their bags are weighed for payment. The green cherries are dried as naturals and sold to the local market.
The mill processes around 20,000kg of cherry per day during the peak of the season. The natural process coffee is dried for 24 hours under cover before being placed in the full sun for a further 7-10 days.
GIDEY 2018 - NATURAL (Organic)
Profile: Strawberry, blackberry, lime. Very wild and floral, with loads of sweetness and a long finish.