Project Direct in Nicaragua
In the northwest of Nicaragua, deep in the Apente mountain range near the El Arenal Nature Reserve, is the heart of the Matagalpa coffee-growing region—known as the Coffee Route. The region has steep, rugged terrain with diverse wildlife and a verdant forest canopy—a result of fertile red soil and strict forest conservation efforts led by the local communities.
Project Direct Nicaragua comes directly from two family-owned farms: El Quetzal and El Paraiso. The farms are owned by the Bendana family and demonstrate their commitment to innovative and immaculate farming practices, which elevate the farm in terms of coffee quality and take into consideration the health of the community. On the winding road that approaches the Bendana farms, the scenery is a tapestry of green—every shade and texture. The only clue that you have entered their property is the brilliant orange flowers that line the road, nurtured with the same care as the coffee plants. As the living quarters come into view, there are plots of amazing tropical flowers decorating the foreground—a small nod to the effort that the Bendana's put into creating an inviting place for the workers. It's no surprise that the Bendana's are experts at growing coffee and hosting workers since they have been harvesting coffee since the early 70s when Paco Bendana inherited the land from his in-laws. The mountainous region and forest cover is ideal for growing high-quality coffees. In addition to the upmost care and attention in growing coffee, the Bendana family also mills their own coffee in an impressively clean and organized operation—ensuring the highest quality through export.
Roastmaster, Paul Thornton, has had a long-standing relationship with the Bendana family and has committed to working with them regularly because of their commitment to continual improvements. The Bendanas have a reputation for treating workers well, so they come back year after year, contributing to the consistency and quality we now rely on. Through Project Direct purchases, we can assist the Bendanas in providing stability for the pickers that carefully harvest this delicious coffee. As a larger producer, the Bendana family has the opportunity to make a significant impact in the coffee growing regions of Nicaragua, so the changes will have far reaching effects. We have a deeply collaborative relationship with the Bandanas and look forward hosting one of the Bendana roasters here at Coffee Bean International to exchange ideas and roasting techniques.
In the pursuit of better quality, the Bendanas continually research and test new fertilization and pruning techniques, test small lots of unique varietals, and experiment with ideal shade cover for specific slopes and elevations. The coffees demonstrate the results of years of gathering data, meticulously analyzing, and applying learning to the crops. With lush cocoa and fruit, juicy acidity and appealing sweetness, these coffees represent some of the best of Nicaragua.
- Cup score: 86
- Variety: 50% Caturra, 50% Java
- Balance: Well rounded
- Aroma: Bittersweet chocolate, banana, floral
- Flavor: Cocoa powder, herbal, citrus, sage, honey
- Sweetness: Sweet lime
- Body: Creamy, smooth, delicate, long-lasting
- Cup score: 88
- Variety: Caturra
- Balance: Chocolate balances creamy caramel
- Aroma: Semi-sweet chocolate
- Flavor: Melon, lime, ripe fruit, watermelon rind, finish of hibiscus tea
- Sweetness: Complex acidity, citrus, sweet lime
- Body: Moderate, creamy