Episode 673

Nicaragua Finca Limoncillo Washed Caturra

The story of Hasbean and Finca Limoncillo is a long and exciting one - we've been working together for 13 years now! A bakers' dozen of coffee harvests shared between Matagalpa and Stafford make us very happy customers. We've been telling the story of this relationship for many years now and we don't intend to stop any time soon because it's such a big, big, big relationship for us! So much of where we are today has come from this relationship. We're super proud of everything that's happened in the past, and super excited for where we can go in the future.

Limoncillo (and a handful of other fantastic farms) are owned by Dr. Erwin Mierich. Having previously lived and worked in the USA, he returned to Nicaragua in the mid-1990s. He explained, "While I was living in the United States, I worked as a gynaecologist, but then I had to come back to Nicaragua and lead this farm. Coffee has been my passion since I was a little boy". 

Our relationship with Finca Limoncillo began in 2007, and back then we were buying their delicious coffee as part of a buying group. We cupped the coffee and instantly loved it - We had to have it! It was a wonderful surprise to discover after the auction closed that it was owned by a family in Nicaragua who were already good friends of ours! The following year we visited the farm with our Nicaraguan importers and agreed that they would bring the coffee into the UK for us. 

A few years ago we were notified by the importers that they would not be buying the coffee again (for reasons other than the cup quality) which led to some frantic phone calls on our part, and a dig down the back of the sofa for enough loose change to fund buying 12 months' worth of coffee all in one go. 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. This coffee has gone from a one-off Cup of Excellence buy to a fantastic long-term relationship that we're so very proud to have.

Finca Limoncillo is located in the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua and it's a whopping 171 hectares in size, which is heckin chonky! 109 hectares of this is used for coffee cultivation, with the remainder used to raise cattle and horses, and left to natural woodland. The family have heaps of policies and initiatives to make everything as sustainable as possible on this vast farming area: their use of chemicals is minimal, and the impact on the environment is always minimised by careful and considerate land management.

It's owned and run by the Mierisch family who are, by now, very close friends, and well-respected producers in Nicaragua. They're known for their experimental processing, varietal work, and exceptional coffee. The family employ over 3000 staff during the harvest, and at Limoncillo over 60 families live on the farm full time. They are seriously loved by the guys who work for them, more than any other producer we buy from there is genuine love and respect between the family and their workers. The fact that the family are our friends helps us drill down into the details of what they do for the people who work for them. 

On the farm, the family: 

  • The employers pay their staff 30% more than what is typical minimum wage, as well as:
  • Provide free housing for 60 families on their farms
  • Provide free electricity and running water for their homes
  • Provide free food for all workers
  • Have free daycare facilities for families to use
  • Provide free health care facilities on the farms
  • Employee on-site teachers who educate their 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.

Our most consistent coffee, we've come to expect toffee apple jumping out at you when you taste this coffee. Each year the balance between that fresh apple and sweet caramel changes slightly and this year it's nice and apple-y!

A wonderfully consistent, easy drinking coffee, it's always a toffee apple in a cup. There's loads of sweet green apple at the front, with the crisp bite of it balanced by silky toffee and creamy milk chocolate on the finish. That chocolate rolls on into the aftertaste, where it's joined by an almond note.

  • Country: Nicaragua
  • Municipality: Yasica Norte
  • 
Region: Matagalpa

  • Farm name: Limoncillo
  • Producers: Mierisch family
  • Farm size: 171 manzanas (hectares)
  • Coffee growing area: 109 hectares

  • Altitude: 1,200 m.a.s.l.

  • Varietal: Caturra
  • Processing method: Washed

CUPPING NOTES

Green apple, toffee, milk chocolate, almond

  • Clean cup: (1–8): 6
  • Sweetness: (1–8): 6.5
  • Acidity: (1–8): 7
  • Mouthfeel: (1–8): 6
  • Flavour: (1–8): 6.5
  • Aftertaste: (1–8): 6
  • Balance: (1–8): 6.5
  • Overall: (1–8): 6.5
  • Correction: (+36): +36
  • Total: (max. 100): 87

Roast Information
Medium-dark - Go through first crack, slow it down a little to get some sweetness developed but drop it just as you get to second crack to keep the crisp apple notes.

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