Here at Clubs of America, we love featuring the best coffees. Here are two selections from our coffee club you should be sure to try.
ICARAGUAN SHG — VIENNA ROAST —
Catholic Priests brought the first coffee trees to Nicaragua in 1795. By 1835, large amounts of coffee were being produced for local consumption, with the first exports from the area in the mid-1850′s. It is said the first seeds of coffee for commercial cultivation were planted on the La Ceiba farm, near the town of Diriamba, in the Pacific range of Nicaragua.
The best quality coffee of Nicaragua is produced in the central mountain range of Sierra Isabelia and Siera Dariense in the regions of Matagalpa, Jinotega and Nueva Segovia at altitudes of more than 3,000 feet above sea level. In the late 1800′s, the government of Nicaragua issued decrees to promote the planting of coffee, offering free land to those who would take on the challenge. Hundreds of German, British and American colonists answered the call, starting the first coffee plantations. Young Nicaraguans followed, converting the area into the most powerful economic region of the country by the end of the 19th century.
By 1930 exports reached 325,000 bags, mostly going to Germany. By 1978 Nicaragua was producing more than 2 million bags annually. Revolution in 1979 severely reduced exports, but by the end of the 20th century, production had returned to 1.5 million bags.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA — AROKARA AA —
PNG coffees are revered for their interesting acidity and high variety. Notable for the mountainous topography of the island and the incredible cultural diversity of thousands of indigenous groups, historical changes in infrastructure have reduced the number of centralized coffee plantations typical of most coffee regions, Thus, many New Guinea plantations are actually collections of traditional “coffee gardens,” small pilots of as little as 20 plants grown alongside subsistence crops. With increased introduction of modern processing methods, these already incredible coffees continue to grow in quality and consistency.
Our AA grade from the Arokara brings the winey wildness prized in Papua New Guinea offerings while maintaining a clean, consistent cup. It proves an excellent example of the complexity seen in coffees from this region. Arokara is a co-op of plantations (the largest being Tairora and Gadsup) in the surrounding valley. With over 20 years experience in coffee growing and processing in PNG, Arokara has always delivered a quality bean. These plantations were originally set up by the Rural Development Bank with modern farming methods.
In the last 10 to 15 years, the plantations have returned to the ownership and management of the landowner clans who now do not use any chemicals or fertilizers in the production process. The cherry is hand-picked by the whole clan, and then pulped on the same day and fermented in cement vats for 36 hours. After fermentation, the coffee is washed with fresh mountain stream water, then sun dried for 7 to 12 days, giving it a nice even bluish color.
Labor in the processing operation is also from the surrounding villages and ranges through the year from 20 up to 60 people in the peak season, not including the clan cherry pickers. The total community in the area who rely on the coffee exports numbers from 10,000 to 12,000 people.
Look for these cup characteristics: Nice tart notes; Soft, light spice; Fresh earth, berries and chocolate, completed by a clean, consistent, sweet aftertaste.