Drinking coffee while saving the planet? Nicaragua Selva Negra is a coffee that has a negative carbon footprint. The coffee offers a lot when it comes to tasting notes. The aromas of wood, fruitiness and a hint of pepper will spike your interest. Flavors of licorice, wood, pepper and chocolate all come forth on the palette while the aftertaste has grapefruit and caramel chocolate notes as well. It sounds like a lot, but the coffee is so balanced that you will keep drinking it all day long.
Industry Review: The Coffee Attendant
Roast: Dark Medium
Processing: Ecological Wet Processing
Altitude: 1400 - 1600 M.A.S.L.
Harvest: December to April
12 oz. Handcrafted Fair Trade/Rain Forest Alliance/Organic Coffee
Nicaragua is a beautiful country in Central America, tropical and volcanic, with two lakes and two coasts both in the Pacific and in the Atlantic. Home of great poets like Ruben Dario and known for cacao, tropical fruits, quesillo, vigoron, chia and coffee.
Halfway up a mountain in northern Nicaragua, between the steep streets of Matagalpa and the deep valley of Jinotega, lies a 1,500-acre organic coffee farm called Selva Negra. It’s a place where the trees hang heavy with giant lemons, papayas, and passion fruit. Roosters crow, hawks ride the breeze over the hills, hummingbirds flit, and the cows are milked by hand every morning. Oh yeah, and the shade-grown coffee tastes like chocolate.
The farm was established in the 1880s by a German immigrant who sailed to Central America looking for a new life in the coffee fields. Eddy and Mausi Kuhl, both descendants of the group of Germans who planted the first coffee seeds in these mountains, purchased the land in 1975.
On any given day, the family-owned farm is home to 200 workers and their children (including the Kuhls’ four daughters), but during harvest time, that population more than triples. Everyone is given housing, three meals a day, access to a clinic, and schooling for their children.
The Kuhls rely on solar and hydro-electric energy to power a full-service ecolodge and restaurant, use methane from manure to power the stove in the central kitchen, and fertilize more than a million coffee plants with organic compost each year. Forget carbon neutral; this place is carbon negative: Each week the waste generated by the farm and hotel — a community of more than 600 people — fills a single trash can. The rest is recycled, composted, or fed to the pigs.
The carbon negative balance is carefully planned and precisely controlled.
Ecological farming uses only local fertilizers that are created by African and Californian earthworms from manure and organic waste. Protection against fungi and harmful insects is provided by biological solution, which is produced at the farm.
Electric power is generated from solar panels and water power plants, the sun heats water for washing, which runs down from the mountain rainforest located above the hotel and is retained in reservoirs. Even manure and toilets are used to gain energy: biogas is produced and used for cooking. Along with the tourist, this community of around 600 people fills only one waste bin per week, everything else is recycled, composted or fed to livestock. Lopez (board of Selva Negra, date unknown) shows a clear decline in energy use of the farm. Ecological footprint (WWF, 2012) is very low, the farm, according to some authors, produces more energy than it consumes.
The farm is profitable, thriving not only from the sale of organic coffee to the United States of America, but mainly from expenditures of 5000 tourists who come here every year to admire this picturesque place, the fresh mountain air, as well as the beautiful and unspoiled nature.
One visit to this finca and you’ll never take your morning cup of Joe for granted again.