The first few months of 2022 have passed by, and now it is time for a season-opening in Central America. But where to start? Not so long time ago, The Coffee Quest flew to Nicaragua to strengthen and expand the relationships with our partners.
After several planning and preparation days for our quest, we landed in Nicaragua in February for our short origin trip, together with Stephen Levene from The Coffee Quest US. A good plan before leaving is an essential step in order to have a successful trip. We recently wrote a blog about it, read further below to learn more.
1st Stop: The Peralta family, one of our past collaborations
After arrival, I was picked up by my old mentor Julio Peralta to go up north to my lost town, Ocotal. We couldn’t begin the trip without enjoying a small beer and the local specialty of bulls balls during lunch! The town of Ocotal is close to Honduras and the gateway to all farms of the Nueva Segovia region, which stretches across the mountain range from Dipilto to Jalapa.
The next day we started with a morning cupping at the Don Octavio mill. I was impressed by the amount of different new flavours on the table! After visiting the Peralta’s, we spent the next two days of our itinerary with the Balledarez family from Las Segovias. They are behind Las Segovias mill and owners of two farms, Un Regalo de Dios and Bendición.
2nd Stop: Las Segovias mill, post-harvest precision
We spent some time catching up with Luis Alberto and his son Luis Gadiel at Las Segovias Mill. They invited us to cup a mix of last season’s coffee to calibrate our sesnes. Luis Alberto is always keen to test your senses and to show you how different roast curves, water composition and shelf lives can influence coffee. So, during the cupping, we did small tests and it was a great training!
3rd Stop: Finca Benedición, the green land on a mountain range
On the second day of our visit, we had a 2.5-hour drive in the morning to Bendición farm in Jalapa with Luis Gadiel. Bendición lies at a medium altitude of 1300 m.a.s.l, looking amazingly healthy! The farm Un Regalo de Dios, which we visited the year before, can be found at a higher altitude with sandy soils. This trip experience was really helpful for me to understand the difference among types of soils.
We dedicated the last afternoon to only cupping. It was also an experience for us to understand the quality that Luis Alberto is aiming for this season.
“After some short photo moments we headed back, but not before having the heavy jeep stuck in the mud and asking a crew of pickers to help us out. Although we were quite lucky as this was the first sunny day of the week, we weren’t escaping the muddy road from the rain!” – Friso Spoor
What is special about the new incoming lots from Nicaragua?
During our origin trip, we got a great chance to see new farm development behind the scenes and gained first-hand updates from the producers themselves.
Over the last two years, the Peralta family has been engaging in their new specialty program with their Q-grader Jasser heavily involved. They are moving the majority of their lots into anaerobic natural processing! This year, a small amount from the farms El Bosque and Santa Maria de Lourdes are available.
- Las Segovias
The Balladarez family are masters in slow-processed lots, dried at low temperatures and separated on variety. Luis Alberto also increasingly specializes in big bean varieties such as Maracaturra, Pacamara and Maragogype. The Mara’s (the big bean varieties) have such a high susceptibility to coffee rust that to see them focusing on these varieties is even more remarkable! We can truly see their expertise in agronomy at Bendicíon and Un Regalo de Díos just by looking at the state of neighboring coffee farms. Luis Alberto’s attention to detail, lab setup and preciseness with roasts and water quality is something we can take home.
What to expect soon?
The harvest finished a bit later than expected. Thus, the first samples of these Nicaraguan lots will be available in May. The lots from Nicaragua cannot land in your roastery just yet, but get ahead by sharing your wishes with our account managers to reserve the coffee at the forward price!
On a final note, I’m currently in Guatemala to finalize the container selection for this season! We are happy to be able to announce a new partnership in Antigua with coffee from a group of 500 smaller producers. Coming soon from Guatemala!
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