The mountains to the south of Jinotega surrounding the city of the same name in Nicaragua are the home to some of the country's most dynamic, quality focused coffee producers. A lush blanket of green vegetation conceals coffee growing alongside many different types of shade tree. This shade slows down the ripening phase of the cherries, encouraging sugar development and flavour in the final harvest. Small farms ranging from a handful to a score or more hectares are common. With complete control over harvesting and processing, these farms are now producing some of Nicaragua’s best coffee.
Arcángel San Rafael, owned by Ivonne de Jesús Castellón, is one such farm. Under the shade of walnut trees, traditional cultivars of coffee like Caturra grow alongside more recent ones such as Yellow Catuai. Harvesting multiple varieties together is common in the region and many micro-lots will be made up of two or more cultivars. Less common is the use of modern methods in controlled drying of coffee after post-harvest processing. Ivonne uses a raised bed system rather than patios to control the drying phase, which helps greatly with the final quality.
We've roasted Ivonne's coffee to focus on the sweet caramel and milk chocolate aspects of the flavour profile. The acidity moves to a medium to low intensity but there are still citrus flavours, hints of white fruit and some vanilla working with the caramel, complemented by notes of roasted almond. This style of roast prioritises mouthfeel and the smooth, dense creamy finish to this coffee lingers long.