Since 2011, we have roasted the coffee of our Nicaraguan friend Luis Alberto Balladarez. His beautiful farm is located outside a town called Mozonte in the Nueva Segovia region of that country.
The name of his farm is Un Regalo de Dios, which means “a gift from God” in Spanish.
And when you consider all the good he has been doing with the proceeds from the sale of his coffee, this speaks to his convictions as a man and his reasoning for naming it as he did (building homes for the poor, buying motorcycles for mountain pastors who have no transportation, etc.).
One night, as he was contemplating purchasing the farm we were on our way to visit, he had a dream. In the dream, he says, God confirmed that he should buy the farm. So, as he moved forward in the price negotiations, he believes God spoke to him again and told him that God was giving Luis the farm. But, as part of the transaction, God wanted Luis to forgive the debts of all the local businessmen who owed him money.
One farmer alone owed him $100,000! So he obeyed and forgave all the outstanding debts that were owed him.
When Luis took out a loan to buy the farm, coffee was selling for $1.25 USD per pound on the NY Stock Exchange. But over the next 12 months, the price of coffee soared to $3.13 USD per pound. So, when Luis went to sell his first crop from the farm they made so much money that they were able to pay off the entire farm that first year!
In that moment it was clear to Luis that the farm truly was a “Gift from God.”
This coffee is a special preparation 750lb. micro lot from an area of his farm named La Amistad, or The Friendship. It is a single variety of Red Catuai and Carabello Coffee is the only roaster to have this coffee!
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Nicaragua La Amistad Microlot, from Carabello Coffee in Newport, Kentucky. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Mozonte, Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua
farm/factory: Un Regalo de Dios (La Amistad microlot)
producer: Luis Alberto Balladarez
association: Beneficio Las Segovias
elevation: 1350 – 1700 meters above sea level
cultivars: Red Catuai
process: fully washed, patio dried
The aroma of the Nicaragua La Amistad is warm and inviting, with sweet and mildly tart scents of caramel, dried berries, citrus, and brown sugar.
Diving into the cup immediately post-brew, a buttery blanket of caramel, honey, cane sugar, and vanilla spreads over my palate, ushering in even more flavors of raisin and cranberry, each sip ending with a taste of nuts.
As it cools off, the coffee brightens considerably with juicy and silky fruit notes: stone fruits like peach, apricot, cherry, and nectarine coalesce with bright McIntosh apple, pear, and tangy orange rind acidity that clears the palate enough to reveal notes of marzipan and cocoa in the finish.
Medium body; buttery mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Carabello’s website states that their Nicaragua La Amistad Microlot is “easily [their] most popular coffee.” After tasting it for myself, I can understand why. Great flavor, nice body, very balanced – it makes for an enjoyable overall experience.
Nicaragua (like, say, Honduras) is just on the brink of the specialty coffee renaissance that is currently taking place in Central America; while still in its infancy, really great Nicaraguan coffees are not as common as, say, Ethiopia, Kenya, or even Colombia and Brazil. So when one that is really good comes along, it’s a pretty special thing.
The La Amistad Microlot is a really, really tasty Nicaraguan coffee and it makes me happy to read that it’s such a popular seller for Carabello.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.