Central America April 2017
Throughout the month of April this year, a few members of LCM visited producers and exporters throughout Central America. We managed to visit 4 countries during our 3-week trip – Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Costa Rica. The purpose of our trips to producing countries is to not only explore and learn more about the country of origin but to build and solidify relationships with top producers moving forward.
Costa Rica is a beautiful country silhouetted by verdant rainforests and fascinating wildlife. Fortunately for us, Costa Rica also produces some pretty spectacular and unique coffee. Honey processing was first implemented in Costa Rica and continues to be prevalent at many specialty mills. We also cupped some clean and super fruity naturals at a few mills we visited. We are expanding our Costa Rica portfolio this year to include some exceptional washed and honey lots from quality-focussed mills in Tarrazu.
Nicaragua produces some of our most consistent commercial grade coffee. After visiting some of the larger exporters in the country to get a glimpse into how commercial coffee is milled and exporter we were left stunned by the efficacy of operations. To produce such a consistent flavour profile from an agricultural product takes time and constant refining. Of course we had to take time out to visit some exceptional specialty coffee farms as well; such as Finca La Indirita which is run and owned by Jose Luis Balacias and is a former Cup of Excellence winner. We toured their nursery of coffee plants and noticed their meticulous care in preparation and segregation of coffee varietals.
Despite socio-economic, crime and government issues that affect many citizens, coffee producers in El Salvador revel in the fact the Bourbon coffee variety is in abundance throughout the country. After spending some time cupping some delicious coffees at Si Café & Cuatro M, we explored some of the world-class farms that supply these renowned exporters. Finca La Fany is a well-known name within the coffee world and their farm and nursery was no exception. Taking initiative to develop and nurture new varieties of Arabica, La Fany also prides itself on sustainable and organic practices in regards to fertilisation and propagation.
A country surrounded by volcanoes and soil of the highest quality with a rich track record of producing some exceptional specialty coffee. We visited Paul at Kofei coffee who works with around 80 different produces from various coffee producing highland farms. Paul places importance on direct connection between buyer and grower and the importance of transparency in the supply chain. It doesn’t hurt that some of the coffee he mills tastes exceptional as well! We also took some time to visit some larger exporters and their growing estates throughout the Huehuetenango and Acatenango regions.
While this was a whirlwind visit, it was important to us at LCM to visit existing producers and develop new connections going forward into the specialty market. We look forward to visiting again soon and strengthening our relationships with producers and cupping some more delicious coffees!