Kaffee-Alchemie in Nicaragua, Day 5:

Posted by john 2 Comments

Day 5:

The coffee plant is one of the rare plants that may have flowers and fruits at the same time, even on the same branch. Today, with the influence of global warming, the coffee farms see disturbing patterns in main blossom and harvest times, however.

Thursday: it was time for Round # 2 !  and on the table were 29 different coffees , in three sessions.

The best of the first round was back on the table for a 2nd chance, and though the coffees are anonymous, I did recognize a couple of them from the sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday.

It is at times a challenge to consentrate on cupping, as cars with loudspeakers announcing great offers or a candidate for some election drive by all the time, supported by loud music (and it is loud). The windows have to be open as there is no air condition in the room; -this makes it difficult at times to perceive the aroma, as a gentle breeze flows through the room.  But we find our way around this, and the cups on the table surprised us all the time. By now we had eliminated the lower range, and it became more difficult to define the better cups among the remaining ones.

Sometimes a coffee will be eliminated because of a defect in one cup

In this 2nd round, once more I found rich and deep flavoured coffees, with notes of stone fruits, red apples and every now and then a bright acidity and a unique clean cup. Today we not only scored, we gave the coffees descriptures of aroma and flavor, which will be available for potential buyers for the auction of these coffees in May.  During the discussions and evaluations after each cupping, it seems we have cut the total coffees down to 28 or 27  -but we Judges do not know the exact scores as of yet.

After the third session, we applauded and knew that by now, the hardest part of evaluating the Cup of Excellence Nicaragua 2011 was over.  Tomorrow, Friday, we will set up a table of the ten best coffees, and then cup them once more to precisely define if there are any Presidential Winners; achieving 90 points and higher. and whom is the  #1.

My head and my palate was stressed and tired as i headed for lunch, and I relished in the bowl of freshly cut pieces of watermelon, papaya and mango:  it soothes the tongue after all the coffee   🙂

Matagalpa is a vibrant, noisy and incredibly enticing city: unfortunately I haven’t had the time to wander about and see much, but today I got companied by Icelands’ Addy and Lilja and Beth from the US, and we went up the street to see the  Coffee Festival (!). This was a street festival, with lots of booths presenting coffee growing related stuff like pulpers and other machines, alongside artisan artifacts and taste samples of coffees and locally grown and home made chocolate!

Of all the artisan artifacts, this 'Barbie goes to Nicaragua' amused us the most 🙂

The real action would start in the evening, so we walked over to the Coffee Museum,  a small but unique -and newly opened-  exhibition about the coffee growing history in Nicaragua, with excellent and detailed information.  The enthusiasts behind the museum were there and gave us a brilliant explanation on their visions and hopes for the future. At the entrance, there was even a small espresso booth with a Rancilio Espresso Machine and a fresh barista pulling shots for us.

Tim O'Brien, coffee farmer in Costa Rica (Cafetin!), and Addy from 'Kaffitár' in Iceland, both Judges in this years' CoE, at the Espresso Bar in the Coffee Museum.

We walked a little more, and then decided to go to the Matagalpa Mercado Norte, the Market in the upper part of town. Addy and Lilja wanted to find nicaraguan aprons for use in their coffee shop, and we succeded in finding a woman selling such in a narrow back street (yes, I had to hold Lilja’s hand). The Market was unique: wish I could have spent more time there!

In the evening we went out for dinner at a fun place called ‘Monkey Bar’, just facing the Coffee Festival, which by now had started with live music and lots of people.

No hot food, and little alcohol; the Judges care for their palates  🙂

I went home for an early nightie nightie:  -but, alas: around 03:00 the church across the street started chiming the bells , someone started singing, and a brass band started playing! The Holy Week is beginning, and a huge crowd of people followed the procession with a statue which started by the church and walked slowly down the street.

I’ve been up since then, writing and watching the sun come up.

After the cupping session today, I look forward to the Farmers’ Meeting: many of the farmers who entered coffees for the CoE will be there, and we get a chance to talk to them before the Award Ceremony. These meetings are important for me personally: from previous years I know names of Farms and their coffees! Some of these coffees have been part of my life for months; they have been my morning cup and my afternoon cup, some Maracatu, some Catuai and Bourbons. Will  ‘El Porvenir’  or  ‘El Guaval’  be among the Farms at this meeting? Are they among the coffees we scored above 84 points?

And then following will be the Award Ceremony, but I will tell you all about that  later  🙂

It is Friday afternoon in Europe: I am ready for breakfast!

Liebe Grüsse




2 Responses to ‘Kaffee-Alchemie in Nicaragua, Day 5:’

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