Welcoming back a really tasty and solid coffee from close to the Honduran border, this caturra lot from Finca San Antonio in Nicaragua’s Nueva Segovia highlights Emilio’s dedication to best farm practices.
Emilio Gomez has been living in El Naranjo, in Dipilto, for the last 36 years. On his farm, Finca San Antonio, he works alongside his wife Teresa Castellanos and his children to produce coffee alongside plantains, mandarins, oranges and lemons, as well as rearing some cattle. He is growing mostly caturra, as well as some maragogype. Lots of producers in the area are shifting to more resistant varieties, but he is intent on keeping the traditional varieties going. Thanks to help and instruction from Caravela, he has seen his coffee quality and production increase, meaning it's still his most important crop.
During a walk around his farm when we last visited, eating satsumas straight from the tree, Emilio explained "I take care of my trees as if they were children. Love and attention are what they need to flourish." Emilio gets help running the farm from his family, his son helping with coffee processing and his daughter doing the farm admin. Jaciel, his youngest, was busy running barefoot amongst the trees and howling, but maybe in a few years, there will be a job for him too! He has recently purchased a second plot at 1,500 metres nearby, called Regardo dos Dios.
When we first cupped in Caravela's Ocotal lab in Nicaragua we came across a 22-hour fermented lot of caturra from Finca San Antonio which was one of the highlights from our visit. We roasted this coffee back in 2019 and are thrilled to have secured the same lot again this year.
Emilio shares the small wet mill (typically referred to as a beneficio in Central America) with his brother. Owning eight hectares he harvests each variety separately to sell as single variety lots. He used to depulp his coffee and ferment for 8-10 hours, in line with local tradition but for the last few years has been extending to 12 hours or so, and trialled experiments of fermenting batches for 24 hours plus.
Eight people are hired to work permanently on the farm, as well as the whole family pitching in, from manually clearing weeds to spraying the home-fermented aguamiels to nourish and protect their coffee plants, as well as undertaking selective picking at harvest time. Emilio likes to keep lots of dry matter that has fallen from shade trees on the ground to keep moisture in the soil.
After processing the still wet parchment coffee is delivered to Caravela’s Beneficio La Estrella to be shade dried on raised beds with the utmost care, locking in and preserving all of the coffee’s characteristics produced at the farm level.
El Naranjo, Dipilto, Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua
Expect a very silky, caramelly cup with a brisk Assam tea like flavour. Top notes of damsons & apricot lead to a lingering milk chocolate finish.