||Nicaragua Finca Limoncillo Funky Natural Red Pacamara 2016
||Varietal: Red Pacamara
The story of Has Bean and Finca Limoncillo has been told many a time, but it's one that I really love to share. So much of where we are today has come from this relationship, and I'm super proud of everything that's happened in the past, as well as amazingly excited for where we can go in the future.
We first bought this coffee back in 2007, and back then we did so as part of a buying group. I loved it from the first time I cupped it, and it was a coffee I just had to get. It was only after the auction closed that I found out it was owned by a family in Nicaragua who are good friends, 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 in for us. Eventually they caved in (possibly just to stop me pestering them!) and kindly did so.
This set-up worked well for a couple of years, but we received notice a couple of years ago that the importers were not going to be buying the coffee any more, for reasons other than the cup quality. This led to some frantic phone calls and some thorough searching 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 this is that we now work directly with Limoncillo instead of going via anyone else, and it's a relationship I'm super happy to have. This coffee has gone from a one-off Cup of Excellence buy to a long-term relationship.
The farm is located in Matagalpa and, at 171 hectares, is huge. It's situated in an amazing location and boasts nine waterfalls within the farm. It's owned by the Mieresch family; as I have already said, they're good friends, and they're 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 here he ended up at a Weird Beard tap takeover in Manchester, talking to two Weird Beards about crazy brewing / coffee farming ideas! This coffee from Finca Limoncillo 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 crazy 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 ...
Add to this some natural processing that's been done by a great technician who is on the side of 'as mad as a box of frogs', and this is one of the most complex, one of the most exciting, and one of my favourite natural coffees of recent times.
They told me one year they had a policy of turning the coffee more often, which I decided made it more 'elegant' (see the other natural Pacamara we're offering), but quite different.
But they did have 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!'
So this lot made it into the bag!
In the cup the funk is a lot softer than last year. It starts with strawberry then moves to tart cherry, before finishing with sherry booziness.
Municipality: Yasica Norte
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
Medium dark – first pops of second on the drop, no more!
"Quick Look" Guide
Strawberry, cherry, tart, sherry.
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