Nicaragua La Escondida

$18.00

white chocolate, nectarine, nutmeg

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Description

One of our longest-standing and most direct producer relationships is with the Mierisch family. We make yearly visits to their farms in Nicaragua and work closely with Steve Mierisch, founder of Brooklyn’s Pulley Collective, where we roast our coffee.

The Mierisches collectively own several farms and also operate a beneficio, or dry mill, in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. This Red Catuaí lot comes from the family’s La Escondida Farm in Jinotega. Eleane Mierisch is the dry mill manager, head of quality control, and producer. She’s also a Cup of Excellence head judge.

Eleane has always inspired us with her leadership and coffee knowledge, but we also admire her courage for being an openly gay woman and business leader in Nicaragua. She is hopeful that sharing her story will create more space for other queer individuals in coffee to seek mutual encouragement and professional development opportunities together in the industry. “Growing up in a conservative culture was difficult, but also defining, and made me stronger. It’s what taught me resilience.”

In celebration of Eleane and La Escondida, Joe will distribute $1 from each bag sold to the Audre Lorde Project in New York, the Attic Youth Center in Philadelphia, and Colectivo de Mujeres in Nicaragua.

Freshly Roasted: All orders are roasted on Monday and Thursday and are shipped on the same day. Note that if you order Two-Day Shipping after 7am on any given day, your order will be processed the following roast day. We do this to ensure your coffee arrives to you as fresh as possible!

Details

  • Type

    Type

    Single Origin
  • Origin

    Origin

    Lipululo, Jinotega, Nicaragua
  • Producer

    Producer

    Eleane Mierisch
  • variety

    variety

    Red Catuai
  • Elevation

    Elevation

    975–1,230 MASL
  • Process

    Process

    Washed

At the Source

When visiting La Escondida this past February, we drove from Matagalpa through Jinotega past a common landmark in Nicaragua, a large lake called Lago de Apanas. This lake, which looks like a lake as opposed to a small ocean like the other bodies of water in the country, is a man-made reservoir that creates hydropower for much of the nation. It is memorable because the Mierisch farms of La Escondida, San José, and Las Delicias are positioned on steep, northwest-facing slopes between the lake and a sizable nature reserve. As we wound up the slopes to reach the top of the farms, we were slowly able to take in the scope of the lake and see it between the branches of Yellow Pacamara, Javanica, and Red Catuai. 

View of Lago de Apanas from Fincas Mierisch

Almost all the ripe cherry had been harvested from La Escondida by early February, and since we were driving with DocSteve and Eleane’s fatherhe chose to stop to check in with farm leaders who were picking up cherry for the day and paying the day laborers. Day laborers are paid for how many baskets they bring in and given coins that they can take down the mountain and exchange for a paycheck. Though it was cool at the high altitude and wide swaths of shade made by banana trees in places, there were many sweaty brows. 

After the truck was loaded, we watched it make its way back down to flat land, where there is a washing station which serves the three farms. Even though the Red Catuai we ended up purchasing had already been harvested, we were able to see how the coffee harvested there is depulped and placed in fermentation tanks. Depending on temperature conditions, the coffee is ready to be washed about 24-36 hours after harvest. From there, the coffee is taken as wet parchment to the beneficio where it is received and given a lot name, dried on patios or raised beds, and then sorted into separate lots. During drying, each lot is spread out in thick layers or steep piles to control how slowly it dries, and it’s moved or raked about four times a day. Washed coffees take 10-12 days to dry depending on the weather.

Our Director of Roasting touring the beneficio with Eleane Mierisch

Before any clients arrive, Eleane spends time choosing lots for them to taste. Based on purchase history, written confirmation of expected needs, and a range of quality and prices she anticipates the client will enjoy, she chooses several tables’ worth of samples and cups them herself in the days before. For us, she set up 3 tables of various levels of quality. We usually purchase a range of qualities and prices, and not by accident: through many years of working together, we have been able to learn from the Mierisch family that there will always be a degree of variance in quality in all harvests each year. Eleane’s brother Erwin commented that for every high-quality lot of 100lbs there is at least 16% of a lower quality that is sorted out, but that coffee needs to find a home just as well. Purchasing different products is a way to help keep both of our businesses sustainable and financially healthy, and it has long proven to be both sensible and educational. 

We tasted all the samples blind, and at the end of several hours of cupping, we talked through our favorites and their availability with Eleane and her cupping lab staff, picked a table to cup again the following morning, and ultimately requested green samples to take back to New York with us. In order to test for table bias and any number of sensory disadvantages in a foreign place, it’s important to put any sample up for purchase through our green intake system. Within a week of getting back from Nicaragua, we had sample roasted and cupped the samples and we chose our lots from there. Because the beneficio is also certified to export, and Steve’s business through Pulley Collective is certified to import, this is one of the most direct business relationships we have when it comes to sourcing coffee. 

At the cupping table at Fincas Mierisch