Before snapping this up a month or so ago, I had not bought and roasted any coffee from Nicaragua, and was keen to try this offering from Ministry Grounds, my ever reliable green bean supplier. In addition, it was also processed using the honey or pulped natural method — that is, where the skins are removed but the beans are dried with all or some of the fruit flesh or mucilage still present. A good proportion of the coffee I roast tends to be of the washed variety, and I am keen to broaden my experience as much as possible.
A little on Las Sabanas from Wikipedia:
The Central American country of Nicaragua borders Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south, both very prolific coffee producers in their own right, along with other close neighbours El Salvador and Guatemala. Las Sabanas is a municipality in the department of Madriz, which lies in the northern aspect of Nicaragua, close to the border with Honduras.
The municipality itself has a varied climate, which in the lower parts is a little drier, however more humid in the higher mountainous regions, with an annual rainfall between 1,200 and 1,400 mm. Nicaragua has a variety of vegetation, with predominantly pines, coffee, oak, guasimo, eucalyptus, and cedar.
Information Courtesy Ministry Grounds
Coffee: Nicaragua Jaime Molina
Town: Mira Mar
Farm: Monte Cristo
Altitude: 1300-1450 m
Varietal: Red Bourbon
Tasting notes: Chocolate, red berry, juicy, coating, balanced, medium body
In researching a little on this coffee, I came across a little on the producer, and his active role in the 5 de junio collective in Nicaragua:
Don Jaime and his family have shared their coffee processing methods with other members of the cooperative, fostering innovation in the name of quality. During the 2010/11 harvest, 5 de junio implemented a successful pilot project for semi washed or “honey” coffee based on new technologies learned from Don Jaime.
The full post can be read on the CRS Coffeelands blog – incidentally a site which I highly recommend for great insights into the lives of coffee farmers and farm workers, including many harsh realities that come with such an existence in many of these countries.
I’m now through roasting the kilogram of green beans I originally ordered, and the coffee has been roasted for filter, espresso, and added to a couple of blends along the way. As usual, I’d have to say not all of the roasts were perfected — though by the last, things seemed to come together well. The last roast? Espresso, which is what I will describe here.
Brewed as precisely that — espresso, I’d describe it as one of the more balanced coffees I’ve had in recent times. The dry aroma on grinding teases of a little strawberry, however the cup didn’t back that up in any great measure — very subtle to say the least. More so the chocolate notes, with a medium body.
Where it really shined was with milk. My typical morning brew being a 5.5oz single shot latte (brew parameters from this morning were 19.3g dose; 46g yield – split between espresso and the latte; 27 second extraction time).1 As smooth as silk, with more chocolate, a little caramel, and a nice strawberry layer to boot. My pick for this coffee would definitely involve milk, however you prefer it — be that cappuccino, latte, flat white or something a little shorter.
Perhaps not one of my standout favourites, however to kick off the day it will take some beating. I’d happily recommend, and buy this coffee again. The more I write about the coffees I roast and brew here, the more I’m convinced some sort of spreadsheet tracking system is called for, lining up roast and brew parameters, and in some way perhaps correlating the resulting outcomes.
Something for another day perhaps, however I’m certainly ready for another brew while I think about it — and for this Nicaraguan — just make it with milk is all I ask.
- Given I have been looking a little more closely into weighing and measuring dose and yield with my espresso lately, I figure it is worth documenting here, for those who might be interested. Of course my learnings around these parameters are slated for their own post, which I will get to in due course. ↩︎