Delicious coffee with a negative carbon footprint!
Balanced aroma with soft notes of pipe tobacco, vanilla, sweet aromatic wood and suggestions of fruit. The fruit becomes more pronounced in the bright-toned acidity. A graceful cup, with a lightly syrupy mouthfeel and flavors of orange, grapefruit, fir, and a touch of chocolate that sweetens in the finish.
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.
Selva Negra is one of the economically prosperous businesses that decreases their carbon footprint. According to Kühl (2013), Selva Negra absorbs 580 tons of carbon dioxide and emits only 201.8 tons.
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.
200 employees and their families are not only self-sufficient in food production; they produce enough even for 5000 tourists who annually visit the farm and stay at one of its accommodation facilities. Agro tourism predominates in drier parts of the year, especially at harvest time when about a million coffee shrubs are harvested (Heile, 2012). Pasture and agricultural organization of the farm is strictly purposeful, every meter is used; there are edible windbreaks along the roads, where fruit trees, herbs and trees with quality timber are grown. Seedlings of the plants are also grown in Selva Negra.
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.
Also, the social security scheme of the farm is unprecedented in comparison with Nicaragua and generally with the developed world. In the future, the aim is to look for alternatives that will keep the families in here at meaningful and paid work.
At harvest time, the 200 employees - residents – are helped by seasonal workers who harvest coffee fruits to braided baskets. The population of the Eco farm is more than tripled. Care for these descendants of American Indians and Spanish immigrants includes not only a steady income, but also access to health care for school children and three meals per day, all grown on the land of Selva Negra in bio quality.
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.
The best time to visit is during the harvest (November – mid-February) when the farm is buzzing with activity. Over a period of three months, the coffee beans are hand-picked, de-pulped, dried, and closely inspected before being shipped off for export. You’ll learn the nuances of shade and how coffee plants sheltered under banana trees have a richer flavor than those grown in full sun.
In the afternoons, explore 12 miles of trails in a virgin cloud forest and keep your eyes peeled for the bright beaks of toucans, exotic orchids, mellow sloths, groups of scurrying short-haired rodents called agouti, elusive puma or the ubiquitous howler monkeys (their other-worldly roar sounds like distant thunder). The forest is truly primeval — the wind rustles the trees, birds call out to one another, and the sun shines through the canopy at odd angles, making it a friendly, if wild, place.
Watch as the bright red coffee cherries make their way from the picker’s woven baskets to the machines humming in the mill each day.