Our Fair Trade Organic Nicaragua Ucasuman is cooperatively grown by a group of small family farm holders that reside in the country’s Jinotega department. This Fair Trade Organic Nicaragua coffee is shade grown in volcanic soil at 3,200 ft under a natural forest canopy in the hills just outside Mancotal and the nearby Lake Apanás reservoir. The lot is handpicked, washed, sun dried and graded SHG (Strictly High Grown) and EP (European Prep). Many of the farms also produce up to fifty percent of their own food, as is traditionally the case throughout Nicaragua where many growers are located in remote, undeveloped areas. In the cup, this Fair Trade Organic Nicaragua has good acidity, good body and notes of citrus.
Cutting through the center of Jinotega is the Cordillera Isabella mountain range, whose cloud-topped peaks with heights up to 6,890 ft (2100m) claim a majority of the country’s hiking trails and a large number of small coffee plantations. It’s here that Nicaragua’s growing agritourism industry has begun to coalesce around the simple, pristine beauty of these clouded forests, cliff faces and rich biodiversity. In addition to the Cordilleras and other areas where coffee production is permitted, there’s a huge portion of Jinotega that is occupied by protected tropical rainforests and natural forest reserves. A total of five national forest reserves (or reserva naturals) are located in Jinotega: Volcán Yalí, Cerro Datanlí El Diablo, Peñas Blancas, Cerro Kilambé and the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve. The sprawling, 5 million acre Bosawás Biosphere Reserve covers the entire northern portion of Jinotega along the Honduran border; it’s a land of countless jungles, rivers, mountain peaks and lakes that are home to large, diverse populations of birds, plants and animals. Amazingly to this day the majority of the reserve is unexplored. One can only guess the number of species (known and unknown) that reside here! In terms of total landmass, it encompasses 20% of Nicaragua’s overall acreage, making it the second largest tropical rainforest in the entire Western Hemisphere and handily the largest nature preserve in Central America. In fact it’s so large that its size is surpassed only by Brazil’s Amazon.
Coffee is the #1 export in Nicaragua, and like most Latin American nations, coffee production has been central to its culture and economy since the mid-1800s when it was first introduced. Jinotega is one of the nation’s three main growing regions along with the neighboring departments of Matagalpa and Segovia. As a whole, Jinotega produces the lion’s share (about 65%), where it’s tall mountains and oak and pine tree forests create excellent micro-climate growing conditions for arabica. In effect, the majority of Nicaragua’s coffee is shade grown using old-world, sustainable methods that take advantage of these native trees that blanket much of its landscape and farming regions. Production of Fair Trade Organic Nicaragua coffee has been on the uptick in recent years, however, Nicaraguan growers have long been sensitive to the preservation of the environment and biodiversity, and use methods that prevent soil erosion, deforestation and water contamination.
The entire western half of Nicaragua is lined with a string of both active and extinct volcanoes, falling along the path of the Ring of Fire. It’s well known that volcanic ash is a major soil component for growers and luckily locals have not had to suffer any major, life-threatening eruptions in a long time. Unfortunately Nicaragua however is no stranger to natural disasters and hardship. In 1998 when Hurricane Mitch made landfall it left the nation in ruin, severely crippling both infrastructure and agriculture as torrential downpours pounded its lowlands and caused widespread erosion and mudslides in the mountains. This was then soon followed by a severe, three year drought, spanning 1999-2001. In the years that followed, the population struggled with civil war and other political problems that held back its recovery. Thankfully Nicaragua is now back on a productive and positive track for both its people as well as its coffee industry.
|Producer:||UCASUMAN (The Union de Cooperativas Agropecuarias de Servicios Unidos de Mancotal)|
|Variety:||Typica, Catuai, Caturra|
|Processing:||Washed & Sun Dried|
|Altitude:||3200 ft (1000 m)|
|Coffee Grading:||SHG, EP|
|Classifications:||Fair Trade, Organic|
|Harvest:||September - February|