Orange and gingerbread, sweet like a sponge cake. A balance cup and a comforting coffee with a good body.
Don Aldo bought San Antonio farm in 1996 thanks to an understanding landlord who allowed him 5 years to pay the total amount for the farm. Aldo grows red and yellow Catuai, Villa Sarchi and Bourbon on 10 manzanas (7.5 hectares) and under pine, guava and citrus-tree shade. Besides coffee, Aldo grows strawberries, beans and vegetable that help his cashflow all year round and when money is needed for the coffee harvest. Once the cherries are harvested, they are floated and pulped at the farm and the wet parchment is taken to Cafetos de Segovia in Ocotal, to be processed.
Cafetos de Segovia is a dry mill located in Ocotal and surrounded by coffee land, making it easy for producers to deliver the wet parchment the same day as they harvest and process it. In 2015, a local producer family realised that the prices paid for coffee cherries in the region were too low and that they could produce high-quality coffee on their own farm. They decided to create a dry mill to add value to their product, and that mill is now run by sisters Martha and Ana, along with their team. The family own a few farms that were inherited from Martha and Ana’s father. Like many properties in the area (in the north, bordering Honduras), the story of the farms’ ownership is a complex one. From 1975-1979 the Nicaraguan revolution hit the entire country, but it was even more intense at the Honduran border, forcing the family to emigrate to the USA. They returned to Ocotal six years later to find that their house and much of their farmland had been seized by the government. Only the house was returned to them – they had lost more than 100 manzanas (70ha) of coffee farm.
The dry mill services their farms and greenhouse – which they built in 2020 to grow experimental lots and more delicate varieties – but also the coffee of some relatives and a few non-related producers from the area. In total, 47 other producers work with Cafetos de Segovia. During peak harvest, up to 300 quintales per day is delivered to the mill, which has a drying capacity of 3,000 quintales at any one time (1 quintal = approximately 46kg green beans). Up to 30 people work at the mill during the season. Most of the coffee is delivered as wet parchment or cherries and 80% of the lots are washed. The drying is usually started on a patio, in the shade for 5-6 days and then in full sun. All patios are covered with black net so that the coffee is not laid directly on the floor. Shade drying is necessary as the sun hits hard at this lower altitude (less than 900masl). The naturals are moved every 3-4 hours and the coffee is piled during the hottest hours of the day. Cafetos de Segovia submits lots to the national Cup of Excellence every year, and always ranks highly.