Episode 458 on Monday the 21st of August, 2017. Nicaragua Finca Limoncillo Washed Pacamara Peaberry
The story of Hasbean and Finca Limoncillo has been told many many times, 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.
My relationship with Finca Limoncillo began in 2007, and back then we were buying their delicious coffee as part of a buying group. I loved it from the very first time I cupped it, and it was a coffee I just had to get. It was only after the auction closed that I discovered it was owned by a family in Nicaragua who were already good friends of mine, 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 setup worked well for a time, but we received notice a couple of years ago that the importers were not going to be buying the coffee again (and for reasons other than the cup quality). This led to some frantic phone calls and a thorough search 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 of this is that we now work directly with Finca Limoncillo instead of going via anyone else, and this is a relationship I’m super happy to have. This coffee has gone from a one-off Cup of Excellence buy to a fantastic long-term relationship.
Finca Limoncillo is located in Matagalpa and, at 171 hectares, it. is. huge! Situated at an amazing location, it boasts 9 waterfalls within the farm and is owned by the Mierisch family; as I have already said, they’re good friends, and 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 over he ended up at a Weird Beard tap takeover in Manchester, talking to two Weird Beards about crazy brewing / coffee farming ideas! A coffee from Finca Limoncillo (the 'Funky Red Pacamara') 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, but a Pacamara with a bit of a twist (more on that in a mo). 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...
As well as being a big ol' Pacamara this is also a lil' ol' Peaberry, a thing that's normally big is a little smaller than you might expect. An interesting mix of unusual sizing that I hope you'll enjoy.
Normally the seed of the coffee fruit grows into the green bean we all know and love from 2 fertilised seeds inside each fruit, but sometimes things are a little different a Peaberry is born. When only 1 of the 2 seeds is fertilised it produces a smaller bean that looks like a shrunken version of what we'd normally know as a coffee bean because only 1 seed has grown instead of 2.
Some say Peaberrys are sweeter and more delicious than their regular cousins, some people even come to us specifically looking for them because they crave them so much! I'll let you be the judge.
In the cup orange and cinnamon meet in a wonderful way. There’s orange acidity with hints of grapefruit and a blackberry hit whilst being thick and gloopy with a spicy aftertaste.
- Country: Nicaragua
- Municipality: Yasica Norte
- Region: Matagalpa
- Farm name: Limoncillo
- Farmer: Dr. Erwin Mierisch
- Farm size: 171 hectares
- Coffee growing area: 109 hectares
- Diurnal temperature cycle (average): High 28°C, low 20°C
- Altitude: 1,200 m.a.s.l.
- Varietal: Pacamara Peaberry
- Processing method: Washed