New from Nicaragua: San Jose & Los Altos

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Though our trip to Central America was barely 4 months ago, it seemed like ages ago that we were cupping at Beneficio Don Estaban in Matagalpa. This year, we had very little time in Nicaragua, barely a couple of hours to catch up with Dr Mierisch as well as cup coffees from this year’s harvest. Like many other farms across Central America, the Mierisch’s farms are affected by the coffee rust disease (“la roya”) and some are more affected than others (more on the coffee rust disease in our next post). The onset of “la roya” led to experimentation of new varietals which are found to be more resistant to the coffee rust. Growing rust-resistant varietals might be a long term solution, but many have to rely on stronger fertilizers as an immediate measure to counteract the threatening fungus. The application of fertilizers is expensive and while bigger estate owners like the Mierisch family can afford to do so, other small producers struggle to afford and government assistance is limited. Despite prevention measures taken to fight the coffee rust, there was a considerable drop in production. The only comfort was the quality of the coffees held up on the cupping table. Over 3 rounds of cupping, we tried coffees from different farms, different varietals and different processing methods. We found some gems that we really like and it is always rewarding to cup with other more experienced green coffee buyers whom we look to learn from.

Taking in the views

Having waited so long for the first shipment of coffees from Central America to arrive, we decided to roll out not one, but TWO new coffees, Finca San Jose and Finca Los Altos.

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These two coffees are both from the Jinotega region of Nicaragua. When we first cupped the Javanica varietal from Finca San Jose, it reminded us of an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. The floral notes are so distinct and it was delicately sweet which we thought would be beautiful as a brewed coffee. As for Los Altos, the balance of this coffee stood out on the table. The lot we bought is of Red Bourbon varietal. It has rich fruits overtones that give it a punchy start and ends off with a decadent chocolate finish. We are guessing this will be a crowd pleaser as a single origin espresso. The two coffees showcase different types of sweetness, both equally enjoyable.

  • Farm: San Jose
  • Producer: Mierisch Family
  • Community: Lipululo
  • Region: Jinotega, Nicaragua
  • Farm Manager: Jesus Antonio Cruz
  • Varietal: Javanica
  • Altitude: 1250-1600m asl
  • Processing: Dry fermented then washed

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  • Farm: Los Altos
  • Producer: Mierisch Family
  • Municipality: Laguna Verde
  • Region: Jinotega, Nicaragua
  • Farm Manager: Fausto Martinez Miranda
  • Varietal: Red Bourbon
  • Altitude: 1275-1400m asl
  • Processing: Dry fermented then washed