When I (your blogger Gerry) was up in La Colmena with Alpha 6 during phase 1, a group of us went on a coffee research project to find out where that sweet, steaming cup of morning Nicaraguan coffee comes from.
Report: Claudia de Wolfe
Pictures: Rosie Webb
Nicaraguan coffee is sweet and refreshing. The growth and export of coffee beans is an important part of everyday life in La Colmena in the Miraflor region. The process is carefully tended to by the women of the village, which produces 60,000 x 50 kg bags of beans for export each year alone.
With community leader Doña Francisca as our guide we were lucky enough to visit their 'plantación de cafe' or coffee farm. For such substantial production quantities, this was not at all what we expected. Clambering up the rough terrain and increasingly steep slop, we saw the different stages of coffee bean growth.
First, the coffee bean seedlings are soaked in water and then neatly left to sprout in cultivated and fertilized soil.
After three months these become intensely bright green plants, about 20cm high.
The plants can then be moved up the slope, to grow further.
A delicate white flower precedes the coffee beans.
These will eventually be ready to hand-pick after two years, when the beans are ripe and a sun-blush red.
The beans are then carried up to the village, and funnelled through a well-sized 'despulpadora' (pulping machine) at each families' home.
Here it is washed, peeled and all the debris is removed. Next the beans are sieved, sorted and laid out to dry for a day in the Nicaraguan sunshine.The beans are roasted in large clay ovens.
They are then crushed and re-roasted again. This is the local's favourite part, when the smell of fresh ground coffee fills the air.
Finally, the fine heaped spoonfuls of coffee are put in boiling water for half an hour...
... to make eight strong and delicious servings. It would be rude not to!
Muchas gracias to Doña Francisca and the whole La Colmena community from Alpha 6!