"FUNKY" I shouted as I took my very first sip of this coffee many years ago, and it's still funking along in its own funky way this year too!
I've been telling the story of Hasbean and Finca Limoncillo for many, many years now and I don't intend to stop any time soon because it's such a big big big relationship for me : ) so much of where we are today has come from this relationship, and I'm really proud of everything that's happened in the past, as well as super excited for where we can go in the future.
The relationship with Finca Limoncillo began in 2007, and back then we were buying their delicious coffee as part of a buying group. I loved it from the very first time I cupped it, and it was a coffee I just had to get. It was only after the auction closed that I discovered it was owned by a family in Nicaragua who were already good friends of mine, and indeed probably the only people I know from the whole country!
The following year I visited the farm with our importers and spent the whole trip begging them to bring the coffee into the UK for us. Eventually, via my supreme Steve pester power they caved in (probably just to stop the flow of emails and phone calls!) and kindly did so.
This setup worked well for a time, but we received notice a couple of years ago that the importers were not going to be buying the coffee again (and for reasons other than the cup quality). This led to some frantic phone calls and a thorough search down the back of the sofa for loose change to fund buying twelve months’ worth of coffee all at once. There were many, many obstacles in the way of doing this deal, but we were lucky in that we were able to pull everything together in a very short amount of time.
The upside of all of this is that we now work directly with Finca Limoncillo instead of going via anyone else, and this is a relationship I’m super happy to have. This coffee has gone from a one-off Cup of Excellence buy to a fantastic long-term relationship that I'm so very proud to have.
Finca Limoncillo is located in Matagalpa and, at 171 hectares in size, it. is. huge! Situated at an amazing location, it boasts 9 waterfalls within the farm and is owned by the Mierisch family; as I have already said, they’re good friends, and also well-respected producers in Nicaragua. They’re known for their experimental processing, varietal work, and exceptional coffee.
The fact that the family are friends helps us drill down into the details of what they do for the people who work for them, and the information continues to prove to me that good people grow good coffee.
On the farm, the family:
- Pay their staff 30% more than what is typical minimum wage.
- Provide free housing for 60 families.
- Provide free electricity and running water for their workers' homes.
- Provide free food for all workers.
- Provide free daycare facilities for families to use.
- Provide free healthcare facilities.
- Employ on-site teachers who educate the staff and teach other skills, such as pottery and weaving. The goal is to help staff diversify their skills. The teachers are also paid twice the wages they would receive in the cities.
The coffees we receive from Limoncillo are fantastic and they come from a fantastic relationship. Erwin Mierisch has visited Stafford many times, and it's always a pleasure to have him around. Last time he was visiting we ended up at a Weird Beard tap takeover in Manchester, talking to two Weird Beards about crazy brewing / coffee farming ideas! A coffee from Finca Limoncillo (the 'Funky Red Pacamara') is used in two of Weird Beard's beers: Black Perle and Double Perle, both of which are mighty delicious beers!
This is a Pacamara varietal coffee. Pacamaras are a little barmy on the cupping table. Pacamaras are exciting. I like Pacamaras! I could ramble on about Pacamaras for a while ... oh, wait a minute, I did! If you'd like to know more about this fantastic varietal, make sure to have a look at the article I wrote ...
Then you take an already super interesting varietal and add some natural processing by a great technician who is, as he describes himself - 'mad as a box of frogs' and you end up here: one of the most complex and exciting coffees we roast, and one of my favourite naturally processed coffees of recent times.
The staff at Limoncillo told me one year that they had a policy of turning the coffee more often than they used to, which I decided made it more 'elegant' (see the other natural Red Pacamara we're offering), but quite different to what I kinda remembered from their natural processing before.
But then they told me they had one lot which had not been turned as often, and was more crazy. So they prepared the sample for me to cup, and the first word I yelled out was 'FUNKY!' and then a coffee name was born, and a whole process. This is now the Limoncillo Funky Natural process, very similar to the Elegant Natural process but turned less often so you get more ferment-y weirdness going on - AND I LOVE IT!
In the cup expect an up front dose of sour Morello cherries. It's in your face all the way through to the aftertaste, but there's also a creamy, yoghurt like body and sweetness that comes in to balance it all out.
- Country: Nicaragua
- Municipality: Yasica Norte
- Region: Matagalpa
- Farm name: Limoncillo
- Farmer: Dr. Erwin Mierisch
- Farm size: 171 hectares
- Coffee growing area: 109 hectares
- Harvest months: December–February
- Diurnal temperature cycle: average: high 28° C, low 20° C
- Altitude: 1,200 m.a.s.l.
- Varietal: Red Pacamara
- Processing system: Funky natural process and sun dried
Morello cherry, yoghurt, funky!
Clean cup: (1–8): 6
Sweetness: (1–8): 6.5
Acidity: (1–8): 7
Mouthfeel: (1–8): 6.5
Flavour: (1–8): 7
Aftertaste: (1–8): 6
Balance: (1–8): 6
Overall: (1–8): 7
Correction: (+36): +36
Total: (max. 100): 88
Pacamaras have a very unique size, density and structure so don't expect them to grind like any other coffee. I find going a little finer than I normally would + allowing more time for the grinder to get its teeth into the bigger beans often leads to delicious results.
Medium dark - through first crack, through the gap and drop just as the first pops of second begin.
"Quick Look" Guide
Morello cherry, yoghurt, funky!
What makes this coffee of the month? Well I think it's tasting amazing right now and I just want to share it with people to be totally honest! And to help encourage that I'm offering a 20% discount code! Just type "COTM" into the discount code box + click apply.
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