Nicaragua - La Fuente

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.

 

Coffee is grown here in an eco-friendly way. RFA standards are implemented on the farm. It has shade with forest species, fruit trees and mousavians. Low-intensity pesticides (green labels) are used on the farm; organic fertilizers and synthetic fertilizers are also used. Coffee trees are pruned and in the same way shade management is carried out, this in order to improve the infiltration of light in the farm. For the collection of coffee, only the ripe beans are collected.

After harvesting, the coffee is floated and pulped, and fermented for 18 to 24 hours before being washed. The coffee is always sent in plastic bags and macen bags to the mill, always ensuring the cleanliness of the means of transport. The coffee received in the dry mill, is sent to African beds inside a micro tunnel (greenhouse) for drying. In the mill, coffee is never in contact with the ground, and to move it during drying, PVC rakes are used. When the coffee is dry, it is stored in a special area within the cellar, always separated from the other coffees that are in the mill. Coffee storage is always done using plastic bags and new macen bags.

The coffee is lifted from patios at a humidity of 11 to 11.5% and stored and stowed in warehouses with the necessary conditions for the rest time about a month (for certified coffee, it has its special area, and this is stored in plastic bag and macen bag). Then the coffee is threshed and classified according to the preparation required by the client and packed in Jute bags and Ecotact bags, with the corresponding ICO.