Project Direct in Nicaragua
In the northwest region of Nicaragua, bordering the Cerro Dantali El Diablo Nature Reserve, lie the remote farms that make up our Nicaragua Las Mercedes coffees. Paved roads stop abruptly once leaving the city of Jinotega and entering the surrounding mountains, followed by miles of dirt roads, river crossings, and farming communities before reaching the Las Mercedes group of farms. These farmers, many of whom are neighbors, stand out for their commitments to coffee growing, quality, and sustainability, gathering many generations of coffee knowledge around the efforts of producing the best quality coffee.
Project Direct Nicaragua comes from a select grouping of farmers within the Aldea Global Cooperative located in Jinotega, Nicaragua, who are renowned for their quality and commitment to delivering the best quality coffees. These farmers have made pledges to separate out their best coffees by selectively picking during the peak of the harvest, and Aldea Global keeps each lot of coffee separated until cupping. Last year we purchased coffee from 19 farmers in the Las Mercedes group of Aldea Global.
Coffee Bean International has had a long standing relationship with Aldea Global, and we are continually finding ways to support their initiatives with small coffee growers in northern Nicaragua. Project Direct provides a price premium based on quality that has been used by farmers to purchase new land, renovate existing coffee trees, purchase new modes of transportation for their coffee to the wet mill, and send children to college. Investments such as these promote a sustainable farm and help to support high quality coffee for years to come.
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.
Our Las Mercedes farmers are very dedicated to quality. The higher a farmer's coffee scores when it is evaluated, the higher price premium he will receive. Each farmer's coffee is evaluated individually and price premiums are paid out following the coffee harvest according to his scores. This financial incentive leads to producers supplying us with only their best coffee— and they are rewarded for their efforts.
- Cup score: 84
- Variety: Caturra, Bourbon, Catuai
- Aroma: Floral
- Flavor: Chocolate, cinnamon, almond, dark fruit
- Sweetness: Bright lime
- Body: Juicy
- 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