This honey processed Pacamara lot is quite complex at a wide range of roasts, fruit to herbal sweetness dominating the cup. Dried mango and papaya, ripe berry, burdock root, fresh parsley, celery soda, and raw pine nut. City to Full City.
We came back to Beneficio Las Segovias this year to find more farm-specific lots. It's been a few years since we've visited, and owner Luis Alberto Balladarez Moncada who runs the farm graciously hosted us for two days last March to taste a handful of his microlots. The farm name means "A Gift from God" and reflects the convictions of the owner. It was recognized as the best Nicaragua coffee in the Coffee of the Year competition at SCAA in 2010 (with a solid but not sky-high 85.5 points). Then it won 3rd place in the Cup of Excellence in 2010 with a more impressive 91.3 points, a Presidential Award score. They donated all their CoE proceeds, no small amount of money, to a home building project and church in the area of the farm. The farm ranges on steep slopes from 1350 meters up to 1700 meters, and only about 1/3 of the land (41 hectares) is planted in coffee. This particular lot is a separation of the large-sized Pacamara cultivar, which is a cross between Pacas (natural Bourbon mutation) and the elephant bean Maragogype. It's also honey processed which means some of the fruit is left intact after wet processing (to be fair, there is no fermentation involved, and the cherry and most of the fruit are removed mechanically), and then laid to dry for about 20-25 days in this case. The cup shows the fruit forward characteristics that often come with honey processing, and is a pretty clean representation at that. Fans of dry processed coffees won't be disappointed.
This honey processed lot from Un Regalo de Dios has complex fruit notes throughout, as well as a smattering of earthy sweet and herbal accents, which altogether make for a unique Nicaraguan coffee. Honey processing often means excessive chaff during roasting, which is the case here. I suggest giving your roast a good winnowing before brewing to get as much as the off as possible to avoid the bittering flavor that comes with it (not a problem with just a little chaff, but when found in large quantity). Aromatically speaking, this coffee is pretty intense and pushes a range of smells from winey, ripe fruits to green herbal sweetness. If you're patient and let this one cool down a little before drinking you'll be rewarded with a fruit-forward cup. The range of pectin-sweet notes on display is wide, and at City roast level you'll find notes of dried mango and papaya, ripe berry, cooked persimmons, and more. Roast development does little to quell the domanating fruit flavors, and though I didn't take to 2nd crack, I'd bet on the persistance of fruited undertones at Full City+. Herbal notes find equal footing in our City and City+ roasts too, burdock root/root beer flavors, fresh tarragon and parsley, and a celery soda accent. A nutty side emerges too as the coffee nears 'warm', comparable to raw pine nuts.