As we enter the 4th quarter of 2017, we are thrilled to roll out 2 new coffees from Nicaragua through a new relationship with the Peralta family. We got to know Peralta Coffees through a roaster friend, who has been buying from them for a few years. The Peralta Family coffee growing history goes back to the beginning of the 20th century; but it was until 2008 that they started focusing on developing new ways to market their coffees to international specialty coffee markets. Peralta currently processes and exports all of their production to specialty markets around the world and also provide financing, milling, quality control, export and consulting services to other small and medium farms and cooperatives from different regions of Nicaragua. Currently they have 7 farms located on the Dipilto and Jalapa mountain range.
We have 2 new coffees from the Peralta family. First is a washed Java varietal from Finca El Bosque ("the forest" in Spanish). It is a farm located in the municipal of San Fernando in the Nueva Segovia region, owned by Julio Peralta since 1991. The farm lies on the mountainous slopes in the Nueva Segovia region on the border of Honduras, providing spectacular views of the surrounding forests and mountains. The environment is incredibly wild and coffee grows densely amongst shade trees of banana and inga. El Bosque produces coffee at altitudes of between 1250 to 1560 meters above sea level and has an annual rainfall of approximately 1800 millimeters. These factors, along with Julio’s inherited passion and dedication for growing exceptional coffee, combine to produce lively, bright and complex flavour nuances in the cup. Javier Antonia Mayorquin is the manager of Finca El Bosque and of the 140 hectares that make up El Bosque, only 30 of them are allocated for coffee production. The rest of the land has been set aside for the growth of different varieties of pine and oak, and it is this factor along with a clear commitment to sustainable environmental practice that has resulted in Rainforest Alliance certification for El Bosque. All power on the farm is provided by solar panels and a rainwater harvesting tank which produces hydroelectricity.
Ripe cherries are handpicked and sorted between December and March. There is a wet mill on the farm. The selected cherries are then pulped in a Penagos eco-pulper, the water is recycled and reused in this process before entering oxidation ponds to remove by-products. For this Java lot, the washed beans were taken to the nearby mill of San Ignacio where they were dried on raised beds for 11 days. The coffees are regularly turned by rake to ensure good, even drying.
We love how clean and sweet the Java is tasting. When hot, the cup highlights cantaloupe-like fruit tones, but as it cools, mandarin oranges comes through along with its candy floss/marshmallow-like sweetness. This coffee exhibits subtle citric acidity and floral undertones, great for pour-overs.
Farm: Finca El Bosque
Producer: Julio Peralta
Farm Manager: Javier Antonia Mayorquin
Region: Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua
Dry mill: San Ignacio
The second coffee we purchased from the Peralta family is from Finca Santa Maria de Lourdes. Situated in the same region as Finca El Bosque, the 50 hectares of natural mountainous forest has been under the ownership of Octavio Peralta since 1970, though for many years the area was used as war land during the Sandinista uprising and was heavily mined. The UN cleared the area of mines in the late 1980’s and Octavio began to restore exceptional coffee production to this relatively wild area in 1994. Octavio has been dedicated to this cause as well as preserving the natural habitat which is recognized as a main factor in the production of his fantastic coffee. Of the 80 hectares of available arable land, 40 have been set aside for the sole purpose of maintaining and improving the natural habitat. The climate at Santa Maria de Lourdes is much more humid which means the coffee trees are more sparsely planted to ensure everything is properly aerated. The farm has achieved Rainforest Alliance Certification in recognition of this decision and contributes towards the on-going conservation of the surrounding area. There is also a well equipped kitchen which caters for the 60 permanent workers and 150 pickers during the harvest. The general manager is Gladys Gutierrez who oversees the running and upkeep of the farm and is instrumental in the production of high quality coffee.
The lot we chose from Finca Santa Maria de Lourdes is a yellow honey processed Catuai. The degree of "honey" depends on the amount of mucilage left on the parchment after being passed through a mechanical demucilaginator, so a white/yellow honey would have the least amount of mucilage left on the parchment, compared to red or black honey. Honey-processed coffees generally take longer to dry. For this lot, it was dried over 16 days on raised beds.
When we cupped this coffee earlier this year, we felt it would work great for espresso. Its soft and gentle acidity and medium body is complemented beautifully by the rounded mouthfeel from the cup. Indeed, this coffee turned out to be really enjoyable. There is a tropical fruit tone at the front, like starfruits, and the back is coated with hazelnuts and milk chocolate. Very balanced and pleasant for those looking for a comforting espresso.
Farm: Finca Santa Maria de Lourdes
Region: Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua
Producer: Octavio Peralta
Farm Manager: Gladys Gutierrez
Dry mill: San Ignacio
Processing: Yellow Honey
Both coffees are available in store and online now. Kick off October with some fresh coffees from Nicaragua!