Jack Kelly (Owner) and Dismas Smith (Head Roaster) share experiences from Nicaragua day 1 -2, as they visit coffee farms in Central America. They share their journal daily so we can share the stories of the coffees you find at Caffe Ladro.
We’ve had a wonderful start to our Central America trip. Our first visit was to Finca Escondida, a lovely farm and wet mill. We watched their de-pulper in action, and walked some of the farm. In particular, they showed us a pruning method which I hadn’t seen before. They pull the leaves, and then clip the branches of the coffee plant in a Christmas tree shape. By doing this they only lose one year of production and the results have been very good. The Mierisch Family is always testing and innovating.
From there we went further up the mountain to Finca San Jose. The farm sits on the side of a mountain and over looks beautiful Lake Apanas. This year’s drought brought visible effects. Predominantly, the cherries are slower to ripen. This is a problem as it requires many more passes of picking over longer periods of time, making picking very expensive. Many farms do not have the money to add extra picking days and are forced to pick under-ripe cherries which is devastating to the quality.
Today we cup! We arrive at Beneficio Don Esteban at 9:30 am, and take no time getting to cupping. Once my speakers are set up and the music is streaming, we start slurping. We sample three tables of 30-40 cups each. It takes until 2:30 without any breaks.
One missing coffee is the natural process Yellow Pacamara, which we loved sooooo much last year. Sadly, the entire varietal failed this season. Luckily, there were many other varietals that thrived. A varietal unique to Nicaragua, Javanica Longberry, is one such bean. Dr. Mierisch and his son, Erwin, basically saved this varietal by purchasing the beans from a closing coffee lab. The Mierischs’ planted them, and today we cupped one washed and one natural that we will purchase. This Javanica Longberry is a delicate coffee that shows citrus, vanilla and jasmine in the cup.
Eleane Mierisch, the daughter that runs the dry mill, bought a small finca located above Finca San Jose, and named it Las Delicias. We were excited when two of the standouts we chose during cupping were her coffees. We are her first client! The starting elevation of Las Delicias is 1400 meters and stretches close to 1600. This makes it the highest farm we buy from in Nicaragua.
After a long day of cupping we headed back to Managua. We have to get up at 4:00 am to catch the plane to El Salvador.