Nicaragua Finca Escondida Perla Negra Catuai 2015


Bean name Nicaragua Finca Escondida Perla Negra Catuai 2015
Country #SSSSS Limited Editions 2015
Region Departamento: Jinotega
Other info Varietal: Caturra


Number 5 of 12, May 2015, in the #SSSSS - Steve's Super Secret Stash Subscription. A limited availability series of roasted coffee beans.

Greetings to you, the lucky finder of this golden ticket!
From Mr. Stephen Leighton! I shake you warmly by the hand! For now, I do invite you to partake in my super secret stash subscription!
I, Stephen Leighton curate a spectacular selection of secret coffees that rarely see the light of day, however throughout 2015 I wish to share some of them with a select few of my beloved customers.
These coffees will not be available on my website or from anywhere except within the super secret stash subscription!
Now you must visit to discover more. Until then,
Stephen Leighton

Nicaragua Finca Escondida Perla Negra Catuai 2015

Oh hello there! Fancy seeing you here! How lovely : )

I think I say this each month but wow how is it #SSSSS time again already?! 2015 is passing by at a crazy speed!

Your #SSSSS coffee was roasted today by the ever-so talented Mr Roland Glew (don't tell him I said that) and is now on the way to you in the caring hands of Royal Mail, for UK subscribers hopefully it'll be through your letterbox in time for brewing over the bank holiday weekend.

For May I've sent you a coffee that I've only had my hands on for 2 days, the first of our new coffees arrived from Nicaragua on Tuesday this week and today a massive chunk of this coffee is on its way to all of you lucky lucky subscribers. There is a little bit left which will be sent to our roasting partners in crime in Ireland 3FE as an exclusive coffee, sometimes I think I'm too nice to them...

Finca La Escondida is close to Lake Apanas, near the town of Jinotega. The straight translation from Spanish to English of 'escondida' is ‘hidden’. The farm is named because it is "hidden" from the road by forest and trees, which makes it appear to blend right into the side of the mountain. It is a young farm: the first trees were 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.

This is the varietal Catuai, which you don't see so much in specialty coffee. The varietal was selected for this farm as it was thought it would do very well with the identified soil quality, sun exposure, temperature range, and weather conditions in particular, given the farm's quite exposed on the side of the mountain.

Catuai is related to Yellow Caturra and Mundo Novo and is a hybrid that grows best at above 800 metres. It is mostly prevalent in Brazil and Central / South America. This is a dwarf variety of plant; it doesn't grow very high, and this is its most obvious distinguishing trait. Selected by the instituto Agronomico in the 1950s – 1960s, it now accounts for 50% of the coffee acreage in Brazil and is widely used in Central America. It also benefits from the fruit not falling off the branch easily, which helps when there are strong winds or rain, or where wind breaker coverage is at a minimum, like here.

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 me, 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 use some of the people already in place in the neighbouring 'San Jose' to blend together an Escondida team comprising experienced and new members.

The processing is a little unusual on this coffee and that's one of the things I really like about it, "perla negra" literally means "black pearl" and refers to the appearance of the coffee during processing, it's super similar to the black honey processing we see from Costa Rica.

So what's this perla negra / black honey processing all about Steve? Well, when the coffee cherry is picked you either leave the cherry on (natural processing) or remove it fairly shortly after picking. When you remove the seed from the fruit (the coffee bean as we know it) there's a sticky mucilage, which is usually removed using fermentation for washed processing. This requires an amount of water and can pollute local rivers and streams. Add to this the problem of lack of water in Costa Rica, and the pulped natural and honey process becomes a perfect solution. There is a kind of de-plulper that can remove this mucilage and can be set to different degrees. Honey processing started off as three types, but the range expanded over time: there is white honey (removes the most mucilage), gold honey, yellow honey, red honey and black honey.

The drying of the parchment with all the mucilage still attached has a direct impact on the sweetness of the cup. Black honey is the most complex, rich in body, flavourful, laborious and expensive. It's also the most at risk of over-fermentation. But generally it has a very unique cup profile characterised by its sweetness, enhanced fruit notes and sweet acidity in the taste.

So what are you going to taste when you brew this bag of lovely? In the cup expect huge creaminess that mixes with walnut oil and smooth milk chocolate. I’d like you to think of this coffee as a liquid Walnut Whip with an extra velvety mouthfeel.

Country: Nicaragua
Municipality: Lipululo
Departamento: Jinotega
Farm: Finca La Escondida
Farm Manager: Boanerje Martinez Montenegro
Coffe Area: 92 Manzanas
Protected Area: 3 Manzanas
Elevation: 975 - 1,230 m.a.s.l.
Harvest Months: December-March
Diurnal Temperature Cycle: Avg High 27C, Low 16C
Coffee Varieties: Bourbon, Java, Caturra Estrella
Processing Method: Perla Negra

That's all from me this month my super secret stash stealing friends, I thoroughly hope you enjoy this coffee as I know I will, there's a bag heading home with me for the bank holiday weekend ; )

As always please let me know what you think on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram, I absolutely love hearing how things are going and seeing pictures of what you're all up to with your part of the stash so please hashtag everything #SSSSS!


(yep you guessed it, that's me at Escondida!)

Cupping notes

Clean cup None/8
Sweetness None/8
Acidity None/8
Mouthfeel None/8
Flavour None/8
Aftertaste None/8
Balance None/8
Overall None/8
Correction +None
Total None

« Back to Coffee Archive