They say third time is a charm, Society Coffee certainly nailed it when we collaborated for a third time.
Society have set a precident of providing us with exceptionall coffees and being the first to share an origin. It began with our first Ethiopia Oroma back in December 2018, our first Brazil in September 2019 and now Nicaragua in 2020.
Born into a coffee family, Victor Robelo fled his home country as a child in the midst of a civil war. Having returned to his home country, his desire to rebuild his original family farm, Santa Maria, is stronger than ever. Its one of seven farms owned by Victor as part of the Las Nubes group, located across Jonitega and Matagalpa, Originally purchased in the nineties after cessation of action by The Contras (Various U.S backed and right-wing funded rebel groups), Santa Maria was planted in Victors late fathers’ favourite varietals, Yellow Catuai and Caturra. Producing mainly Caturra, Santa Maria is managed by the watchful eye of Jimmy Mierisch, who has a focus on high quality lots and new processing methods. Coffee is picked and processed at the farms own wet mill (depending on processing method) before being taken to dry milling facilities in Matagalpa that Las Nubes purchased in 2014. The dry mill is located in a purpose built facility and allows for coffee to be milled and packed under one roof, in a clean environment, designed by Victors wife, an architect. Their drying tables are located at the same facility, stacked 3 to 4 layers high to control the temperature and humidity required for the processing method of the lot. Owning their entire supply chain enables strict control of the variables and enables experiments to be closely replicated. When it comes to labour, Victor pays almost 35% above the minimum wage and knows the importance of feeding your extended family. La Cantina, located at Santa Maria and also designed by his wife is capable of feeding 700 workers during peak season.
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COFFEE IN NICARAGUA’S HISTORY:
Coffee has offered significant environmental and economic impact to Nicaragua. Since its introduction during the mid 1800’s it has come to provide crucial income to (approx) 45,000 families who own and operate small farms in a country of six million, with unemployment nearing 50%.
These small producers grow about half of the food they consume, often intercropping bananas, oranges, mangos, trees for firewood and construction within their coffee plantations, thus helping to account for the high percentage (approx 95%) of Nicaragua’s coffee being shade grown.
It is commonplace for small producers to utilise family for labour, only employing day labour when needed during the harvest season, which typically runs from October to February.
Largely dependent on coffee for foreign income, the price crash in 1999-2003 saw the collapse of 3 of Nicaragua’s six major banks due to coffee debt and other scandals.
Vulnerability to price fluctuations effects rural landless workers more extensively than the land holders whom they are often labourers for. During the crisis an estimated 4.5 million days of work were lost, banks and plantation owners stopped paying and feeding workers. As a result, annual marches of hundreds of hungry families to a highway running to the country’s capital, Managua. They grouped together on the side of the highway
and in parks, living off donated food in miserable conditions.
After 3 years of these marches, the rural workers’ union won small plots for more than 3000 landless coffee workers.
This historic agreement is known as El Acuerdo de las Tunas. named after the school on the Pan America Highway wherethe agreement was finally signed.
Farm: Santa Maria
Producer: Victor Robelo
Varieties: Caturra and Catuai
Grade: Strictly High Grown (SHG)
Altitude: 1,380 – 1,500 M.A.S.L
Tasting notes: Naval Orange
Medium to full body, Round and creamy, Supple finish
Dose: 18.5 - 19g
Water: 325 - 340g
Contact Time: 2:30 – 2.45 min
Dose: 18.5 – 19g
Yield: 36 – 38g
Time: 23 – 26 sec