Santa Maria de Lourdes is located in the municipality of San Fernando and the farm is around 24 kilometres from the region’s capital Ocotal. Situated in the Nueva Segovia region at altitudes ranging from 1350 to 1550 metres above sea level, Santa Maria de Lourdes embodies a diverse range of luscious vegetation and wildlife brought about by high levels of annual rainfall.
The 80 hectares of natural mountainous forest has been under the management of Octavio Peralta since 1994, whose aim was to restore exceptional coffee production to this relatively wild area. Octavio has been dedicated to this cause as well as preserving the natural habitat which is recognised as a main factor in the production of his fantastic coffee. Of the 80 hectares of available arable land, 40 have been set aside for the sole purpose of maintaining and improving the natural habitat.
The farm has achieved Rainforest Alliance certification in recognition of this decision and contributes towards the on-going conservation of the surrounding area.
The varietals found here include Caturra and Catuai as well as the Nicaraguan heirloom varietal known as Java. Octavio was extremely keen to get involved with experimental processing and the batch we have acquired is natural processed micro-lot. Hand-picked cherries are put through a water siphon and then manually inspected in order to separate any defected beans. Once the fully ripe cherries have been selected, they are taken to the San Ignacio dry mill to undergo a very slow drying process to encourage full enzymatic fermentation.
Raised drying beds with partial shade cover are used and no cherries are turned over in the first day of the drying process. Then, the fermenting cherries are systematically turned over every two hours during the higher temperatures (from 11am to 3pm) of each day. The cherries are then covered in the late afternoon/early evening and left undercover throughout the night until the sun rises again the next day when the drying process begins again. The target for the total drying time of these lots is 20-24 days and once completed, the cherries are milled to remove the fruit and parchment surrounding the beans which are then vacuum packed into 34.5kg packs.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this coffee. Today we’re sipping the Nicaragua Santa Maria de Lourdes, from Gaslight Coffee Roasters in Chicago, Illinois. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: San Fernando, Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua
farm: Santa Maria de Lourdes
producer: Octavio Jose Peralta Paguaga
elevation: 1350 – 1550 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra, Catuai, Java
process: red honey
certifications: Rainforest Alliance
method: Hario V60
grind: 16, Preciso
coffee: 32 g
water: 320 g
water temp: 198°
pour: 2:00 concentric pour
Opening the bag of Santa Maria de Lourdes unleashes a low roar of bright, lively aromas that erupt out of the bag and bounce off the kitchen walls. Tropical fruits, vanilla cream, and floral aromatics blossom out of the cup and quietly bombard the nose.
Jumping into the first few sips of the and, again, my senses are completely overwhelmed by the flavors this coffee is throwing at my palate. A light coating of creamy vanilla spills over the tongue first, ushering in a faint woodsy/earthiness and some spices present up front (which is fairly indicative of Nicaraguan coffee), but it’s hardly noticeable.
As the cup cools, the coffee presents a mellow deluge of tropical fruit flavors. The flavors are traditionally bright, but I think that, in this particular cup, the roast profile gives them a more “cooked” taste; you know—like, grilled pineapple and caramelized mango. I’m also getting plenty of papaya, mango, cantaloupe, coconut, banana, grapefruit, guava, kiwi, and tamarind flooding my taste buds and leaving behind a slightly lingering vanilla finish.
Medium body; creamy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
Gaslight Coffee Roasters really came through with their Nicaragua Santa Maria de Lourdes. It was a very unique coffee in that it featured all of the flavor components of a natural Nicaragua, but the restraint typically found in a washed Nicaragua.
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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.