Nicaragua – Guadalupana
La Guadalupana farm was purchased by Martha Nubia Zelaya in 2015. The farm, located in Dipilto, covers about 9 hectares where the catuai and catimor plants grow under the shade of local trees like guava and ‘bucaros’ (purple coraltrees). Once the cherries are harvested, they are processed on the farm and the wet parchment is immediately taken to Cafetos de Segovia in Ocotal. Cafetos de Segovia is a local dry mill, well located so producers can deliver the wet parchment the same day as they harvest and process it.
The brain-child of Martha’s coffee producing family the wet mill has added value to both their own and other local farmer’s coffee cherries by increasing the quality of the end product since it was established, also in 2015. The mill is now run by sisters Martha and Ana Nubia Zelaya, along with their team. The sisters also own a few farms that were inherited from their father. Like many properties in the area (in the north, bordering Honduras), the story of the farms’ ownership is a complex one. From 1975-1979 the Nicaraguan revolution hit the entire country, but it was especially intense at the Honduran border. Like many others the family were forced to emigrate to the USA. They returned to Ocotal six years later to find that their house and much of their farmland had been seized by the government. Only the house was returned to them and they have been gradually re-building their coffee farm ever since.
The dry mill services the family farms and greenhouse – which they built in 2020 to grow experimental lots and more delicate varieties – but also the coffee of some relatives and a few non-related producers from the area. In total, 47 other producers work with Cafetos de Segovia. During peak harvest, up to 300 quintales per day is delivered to the mill, which has a drying capacity of 3,000 quintales at any one time (1 quintal = approximately 46kg green beans). Up to 30 people work at the mill during the season.
Most of the coffee is delivered as wet parchment or cherries and 80% of the lots are washed. The drying is usually started on a patio, in the shade for 5-6 days and then in full sun. All patios are covered with black net so that the coffee is not laid directly on the floor. Shade drying is necessary as the sun hits hard at this lower altitude (less than 900masl). The naturals are moved every 3-4 hours and the coffee is piled during the hottest hours of the day. Cafetos de Segovia submits lots to the national Cup of Excellence every year and always ranks highly.