Producer Silvio Sanchez came to coffee farming as a young entrepreneur. He and his mother both love coffee, and after he completed his degree in agronomy, he set to work looking for the perfect farm to cultivate coffee. They found the ideal property in La Union, San Fernando in Nueva Segovia: Santa Teresa de Mogoton.
With his expertise as an agronomist, Silvio laid out the plots of Catuai, Catimor, and Java under the shade of pine trees. The tall pines cast long shadows and give the farm a spectral atmosphere. High on a remote road, the farm’s 10 hectares are characterized by solitude. The coffee trees flourish in the quiet, their lush green leaves producing cherries that ripen to bright red and deep yellow and are picked at their peak.
Producer Silvio SanchezCoffees from Santa Teresa de Mogoton reflect the farm’s special terroir and are the result of careful planning and labor and Silvio’s attention to detail.
La Ilusion — Nicaragua’s Highest Farm
La Ilusion is a special farm. Producer Francisco Valle is also the general manager of Expocamo, Ally’s export partner in Nicaragua. Francisco focused for many years on establishing Expocamo as a premiere source of differentiated specialty coffees from Jinotega, Madriz, and Nueva Segovia by working with local smallholder producers to increase quality, from picking through processing and drying.
Coffee, banana, and shade treesBut, Francisco has always kept his connection to the land and farming even while managing many administrative roles. When he heard of a farm at 1750–1900 meters, he knew he had to see it to believe it. On his first visit to La Ilusion, he understood the name to be the correct description of the farm. As the highest coffee growing property in Nicaragua, the clouds and mists roll through the farm’s coffee and shade trees.
The inaccessibility of the property casts the farm into tranquility. The crop itself was in a state of neglect when Francisco bought the farm several years ago, but he began steadily improving things by pruning and replanting trees, trimming shade, and training harvesters on selection of only the ripest cherries. Each harvest the coffee continues to improve as the land is revitalized.
The farm’s 7 hectares are surrounded by primary forest. The nearest town is Mozonte, on the road to the small city of Ocotal. Beyond Ocotal is the road to the Honduran border. The farm’s Catuai cherries are processed as fully washed, and several new variety plantings are in development.
La Ilusion is outfitted with dupulping and washing equipment at its small mill. Coffee is transported from the farm to lower elevations with more open space and lower humidity to complete the drying process.
Bram, Ally’s Central America buyer and the photographer of all images in this post, with Francisco Valle.