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OUR UNIQUE COFFEE

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Our coffee is grown in plantations across a cloud forest in the northern Nicaraguan mountains it is a caturra bean *Caturra from the Arabica family - is a mutation of Coffee Bourbon discovered in Brazil. This particular variety yields a large good quality crop, but requires extensive care and fertilization. It is short with a thick core and has many secondary branches. It adapts well to almost any environment, but does best between 1,500-5,500 feet with annual precipitation between 2,500-3,500 mm. At higher altitudes quality increases, but production decreases.

It is from the arabica family and with careful care and attention it thrives in the humid and temperate climate of the cloud forest. Protected by a canopy of trees which allow it to develop its full flavour this bean is right at home in an environment which not only provides exactly the right amount of rain and sunshine but also shade, very important in allowing the full flavour of the bean to ripen at its own leisurely pace.

The beans grown in Miraflor tick all of the above boxes, a nature reserve of 206 km² Miraflor is situated in the north of Nicaragua and has pockets of communities where the main source of income is the coffee grown across the mountains. The coffee is ripe for harvest towards the end of the rainy season around November / December. Everyone from the community rises before dawn and heads out to the plantations with baskets and sacks and they spend hours moving from plant to plant picking the ripe (red) coffee cherries by carefully twisting each fruit and pulling it gently. This is to ensure the plant is not damaged for the following years harvest. The different families move from plant to plant knowledgeable about which ones belong to them, although how remained a mystery to me when I was there, I was constantly being told off for picking a neighbour's coffee plant. Once the baskets are filled they are emptied into sacks, packed onto a patiently waiting horse and taken back to the farms where the coffee is weighed so the picker knows how much they have earned that day. A bucket full of coffee cherries can yield a couple of dollars, so it pays to be good at this.

If it sounds like a long and laborious task, it is in many ways but it is such a huge part of the Nicaraguans life that it is almost a social event, while the women laugh and yell across the coffee plants at in jokes and local chisme (gossip) the children who are on their own long summer holidays spend their time earning their version of pocket money watched beadily by grandparents to make sure the careful picking tradition is passed down.

In the photo is Don Pedro, a coffee farmer in Miraflor of more than 60 years, his sons and his grandchildren all play a huge part in ensuring you have a part of not only his history, but also of their futures.

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