ST. ALi // Specialty Coffee


Posted in ST ALi. // Latest news by mattjohn on March 18, 2009

Well It’s been a wild week what with the wicked Sunday and all but it’s time to give a little update on the trip in Nicaragua!

It was a trip funded by the Spanish Government to promote speciality coffee in the region of Jinotega, Nicaragua. Thrown together with eight other speciality coffee fiends and our ring leader / international woman of mystery, Claudia, we were there to check out the new “Coffee Project” of Nicaragua which involves small farm owners wet processing their coffee for the first time in order to get a much higher price at the dry mill. Allow me to elaborate, if a farmer picks his coffee cherries, pulps the cherry from the coffee, ferments the seed and dries the coffee in parchment they will get a much better price for his parchment than just selling the cherries.  More to the point, if a small coffee grower sells his parchment to the dry mill it becomes traceable and can be divided into single estate coffee.  Beyond that, if there is some good results coming from this one farm they can take a selection of their best plants and create a micro lot that can sell for very high prices and are good contenders for the Cup of Excellence program.

So this is why we were there but of course we got a whole lot more.  First of all we were greeted with such warmth as every farmer was excited that people were taking interested in their coffee.  Secondly they showed us first hand all of their processing facilities which was a great education process for the roasters and barristers involved. Third, it is customary in Nicaragua to get your guests pretty liquored up on the pride and joy of their country, “Fleur de Cana”, then drag you out on the dance floor and shake you around until you can’t shake no more, then put you on the bongos and provoke anglo saxon rhythm whilst falling down to baritone at the local discotech for Friday night Karaoke. Photos withheld.

While we were there it was our role to share our knowlage of coffee tasting and two course intensives were held.  One by Ben Townsand of the London Coffee School in the art of Espresso making, the other by Jose Aguilar from Mercanta who lead an elaborate class on the finer points of cupping.  After this we all took part in a cupping based on the Cup of Excellence specifacations that would give the farmers an idea of the quality of their coffee and how it would peform on the speciality coffee market.


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