Episode 666

Nicaragua La Escondida Perla Negra Red Catuai

Finca La Escondida is close to Lake Apanas near the city of Jinotega, which is the capital of the department of Jinotega in the north-central region of Nicaragua. The straight translation from Spanish to English of 'escondida' is ‘hidden’. Escondida is called 'Escondida' because the farm is 'hidden' from the road by forest and trees, which makes it appear to blend right into the side of the mountain.

La Escondida is a rather young farm as coffee farms go, because the first trees were only planted there in 2006. La Escondida is planned around identifying the plots with individually different micro-environments resulting from factors such as soil quality, sun exposure and temperature range. This is one of the upsides of starting to plant a new farm.

Some of the downsides of starting a brand new farm can be that it may take a while for the quality of the cup profile to build up, it might take time to have the right facilities for processing and picking, and it might take time to train the staff for picking and processing. Not to mention that it might take a while to achieve the yield to go with it all. But this farm, for us, has hit the whole group of requirements running. As a result of their experience in the area, the Mierisch family have built a new mill with a huge investment, and they utilised some of the people already in place in the neighbouring 'San Jose' farm to blend together an Escondida team comprising experienced and new members.

The Mierisch family love to experiment with their coffee processing, and this is a great example of that! Inspired by similar techniques in the cacao, wine and beer industries, Perla Negra (which translates to "black pearl") is the name of the Mierisch's latest experimental process. It involves spreading the coffee out, after pulping, in a thin layer on a plastic tarp in a cool, dark environment. It is then covered with another tarp and left for 96 hours, before being dried on raised Africa beds. The result is a super unique, but relatively divisive cup!

This is a really unique coffee - which you'll know the moment you smell it. There's a distinctive, funky, yoghurt-like smell, but when you go in for a sip it's super creamy, with a dark chocolate flavour which fills out on the finish. As it cools, there are notes of raspberry and raisin mixed in.

  • Country: Nicaragua
  • Municipality: Lipululo
  • Departamento: Jinotega
  • Farm: La Escondida
  • Farm manager: Boanerje Martinez Montenegro
  • Coffee area: 92 manzanas (hectares)
  • Protected area: 3 manzanas
  • Elevation: 975–1,230 m.a.s.l.
  • Harvest months: December–March
  • Diurnal temperature cycle: average: high 27° C, low 16° C
  • Varietal: Red Catuai
  • Processing method: Perla Negra


Yoghurt, dark chocolate, raspberry, raisin.

Clean cup: (1–8): 6
Sweetness: (1–8): 6.5
Acidity: (1–8): 6
Mouthfeel: (1–8): 7
Flavour: (1–8): 6.5
Aftertaste: (1–8): 6
Balance: (1–8): 6
Overall: (1–8): 7
Correction: (+36): +36

Total: (max. 100): 87

Roasting Information
Medium-dark - through first and let it slow down just slightly as it gets towards second and you finish the roast just as you approach 2nd crack.


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