Notes From Origin: Nicaragua Part Two
I had my morning coffee with Managing Director and some of the board members of the Soppexcca cooperative at their offices in Jinotega. The organization is made up of 16 primary co-ops that represent 650 small coffee farms. One of the most interesting things I learned was that 38% of the farms represented are owned and operated by women. They even feature a brand called Las Hermanas that sells coffee produced by women farmers. After coffee we headed out to tour farms and the first stop was a farm called Coopertiva Datanli-Los Robles, owned and operated by Guadalupe and his son Guadalupe Jr.
The farm was about 6.5 acres and featured a small coffee nursery. During the tour Guadalupe discussed how their farm production was reduced by 75% two years ago due to the coffee rust crisis that hit Central America. While he expects to have a bigger yield this harvest it will not be near the same amount as previous years.
I had lunch on the farm with Guadalupe and the other Sopexxca Board Members and then we left to tour another farm and wet mill.
After arriving at the second farm we immediately headed to look at coffee trees. The coffee on the farm was not quite ripe yet but they were out pre-picking. Some of the coffee cherries start to ripen early and if they are left on the tree they will be overripe when it is time to harvest. If these overripe cherries are mixed in with a bigger batch of ripe coffee cherries they can cause taste defects in the finished cup.
While at this second farm I also had the opportunity to meet with some of the younger generation of the farm community. I learned how Sopexxca was offering training on everything from farm operations to barista skills. It was inspiring to see teenagers be so excited about contributing to the next generation of coffee production.
The night ended with a community produced fiesta complete with cultural music, dances, and food. I arrived back at my hotel around 11:00pm and was completely exhausted but still inspired by everything I learned throughout the day.
I was back at Sopexxca offices for morning coffee and a few more strategy meetings with the Managing Director and board members. I also had the opportunity to cup some wonderful coffees and see a live barista training session before I had to hop in a car for a two hour trip back to Managua to catch my flight to Guatemala.