Name: La Argentina
Producer: Roger Peralta
Origin: Dipilito, Nueva Segovia
Varietal: Caturra, Catuai
Altitude: 1200-1350 metres above sea level
Process: Washed (RFA)
Flavours: Lemonade, Orange, Milk Chocolate
SCAA Score: 84.5
Where is it from?
Finca La Argentina is, in our view, a jewel in the Dipilto crown. It has been owned by Roger Peralta and his family since 1920 and is an incredibly beautiful farm. A steep 30-minute drive from the local mill town of Ocotal, Nueva Segovia’s capital, is all it takes to reach Finca La Argentina. The 80-hectare farm is set within and is indeed part of, a beautiful mountain forest where many varieties of indigenous trees flourish alongside all kinds of flora and fauna. Such varied vegetation provides ample shade for the coffee that grows there.
Finca La Argentina is managed by Juan Carlos along with 40 permanent employees and 150 pickers during the harvest. Ripe cherries are handpicked and sorted between December and March. There is a wet mill on the farm where the ripe red cherry is deposited and weighed from each picker. The cherries then enter floatation tanks where the ripe and unripe cherries are separated by density. Ripe dense cherries are then pulped in a San Carlos de-pulper which removes the skin of the cherry using a cylindrical piece of metal. The sticky beans are then fermented for between 14 and 18 hours before being washed in channels lined with stones which provide friction to remove any remaining mucilage. The washed beans are then taken to the drying patios at the nearby mill of San Ignacio where they are regularly turned by a rake to ensure good, even drying. The overall drying process will take around 10 to 12 days.
The quality control at both the wet and dry mill is second to none having benefited from visits by milling expert Jeremy Wakeford, who has made a number of improvements to bring about greater consistency and a better overall cup profile. In January 2010 Finca Argentina achieved Rainforest Alliance certification in recognition of the great care that is taken of the land and the people who work it. The audit carried out by the Rainforest Alliance produced a good score allowing for full certification. However, the Peralta’s are keen to achieve an even higher score in future years and are planting a greater variety of trees across the whole estate, as advised by the auditors.
This coffee scored a very high 84.5 in SCAA cupping. It is roasted to a medium profile with flavour notes of lemonade, orange and milk chocolate with a bright and juicy acidity.
AeroPress, Cafetire, Pour Over, Espresso
The coffees from the Peralta family in northern Nicaragua – Cerro de Jesus, La Argentina, El Bosque, Santa Maria de Lourdes, La Cascada and Samaria – are grown in one of the most impoverished communities in Central America. Our suppliers, Falcon Coffees, recognise the responsibility to address this, which goes beyond always paying sustainable prices for the coffees. They have established a project with direct investment in the local community and are working with the Fabretto Foundation to fund investment in education and school kitchens in the Nueva Segovia region.
The Fabretto Foundation is a non-profit organisation that aims to address issues of poverty and malnutrition throughout Nicaragua. Raphael Maria Fabretto travelled to Nicaragua in 1948 and set up a network of children’s homes in 1953, having been shocked by the widespread poverty, abuse and neglect of children. Since then, the Fabretto Foundation has worked to address these issues through investment in education at early, primary and secondary school level. Their holistic approach aims to provide a better educational structure throughout Nicaragua, with well-trained teachers to inform young children and parents of the importance of nutrition and provide vocational development.
A study found that children entering primary school at the age of 6 from the poorest quartile in Nicaragua had the vocabulary level of a 3 and a half-year-old from the wealthiest quartile. There is an overall lack of qualified teachers, due to low salary offerings, and consequently, schools are forced to hire teachers with little or no training. Fundamental infrastructure gaps within the educational system are underpinned by a general disinterest in education in the poorer communities. Many parents are themselves illiterate, having not been educated, and therefore do not see a need for their children to attend school. In the Nueva Segovia province, where our Nicaraguan coffee grows, malnutrition is endemic, with 27.7% of children suffering from chronic malnutrition, considerably greater than the national average of 17.3%. Malnutrition in children can stunt growth, bone and brain development, and has a disastrous effect on long-term development.
The project aims to address these issues through the construction of school kitchens, hosting parent-teacher workshops to encourage better nutrition and raise awareness of the importance of education, and provide teacher training to improve education standards throughout the area. Funds from Falcon will provide resources to build 10 school kitchens in order to provide children with 50% of their daily calorific needs. Education and nutrition workshops will be provided for 250 parents and teachers across the Mozonte municipality. Primary and pre-school teachers will receive 160 hours of training over the project period and will be provided with Montessori learning materials, in order to implement the new learning approach. So far a number of parent/teacher workshops have taken place, with 24 teachers participating in the initial training programme and construction of the 10 school kitchens is underway.
Falcon invested $33,400 in this project in 2015, and in 2016 have made a further charitable contribution of $17,500. We look forward to sharing the progress with you as it unfolds.