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Direct Trade Nicaraguan Los Placeres Rainforest Alliance Estate

January 28, 2010

Chris and myself along with Nan & Gerry (of Good Earth Cafes) just finished visiting the Meirsch family in Nicaragua.  Together we toured Matagalpa and Jinotega to see their 5 unique coffee estates, each show casing a different cup characteristic that stand out from one another.

The Merisch family is a 3rd generation coffee family that currently evolves 2 generations, with a 3rd (or the 4th in total) not far behind.  It was easy to see how close this family is to one another and how important family is to them.  When staying at Erwin Merisch’s Seniors home, you were always in the company of his siblings and wives, their children as well as cousins.  We certainly didn’t feel like outsiders either, as we were welcomed with open arms.

Erwin Merisch (Junior) is currently involved heavily in the quality control systems with all farms.  Erwin helps many farms, cooperatives in Nicaragua and other countries increase their qualities their lending his expertise in farm management as well as cupping analysis.  Erwin was the first in Nicaragua to begin separating, cupping and selling coffees on cup profiles, rather than bean size.

Today they continue to experiment with different varietals and processing methods including a new process for Nicaragua, Passa.  Currently they are process full washed, pulped naturals, full naturals and passa with many varietals including Caturra, Catuai (red & yellow), Bourbon (red & yellow), Java, Pacamara (red & yellow) and Typica.

Another purpose of this trip was to cup several different lots from their estates to decide on what to import to Calgary for the coming year.  Our decision was to choose two Micro-Milled lots of Pulped Natural 100% Caturra from the Rainforest Alliance certified farm Los Placeres in the Mataglapa region.  This coffee was grown at an altitude of 1500 meters in an environment filled with shade cover.

60 families live full time on this farm and are provided homes, electricity, water, schools from grades 1-4, food and health care.  It was easy to see how the families loved it there as the sounds of children’s laughter filled the air as you traveled through their little community.

To learn more about their estates, please READ THIS.

To purchase and sample coffee from their Finca Limoncillo Estate Go Here.