Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting

Prodecoop, Sabor de Segovia: Esteli and Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua
Prodecoop is a "cooperative of cooperatives" located in the state of Esteli, Nicaragua. Their membership is comprised of 40 coffee-growing co-ops, 2300 member-producers, which comes to 10,000 individuals with a relationship to the co-op! We have found their coffees sold under the name Sabor de Segovia (named for the coffees of Nueva Segovia adjacent to Esteli) to be consistently good, and the special lots that we cup and buy to be excellent. Prodecoop is on the web at www.prodecoop.com

On the porch of the new Prodecoop cupping facility and office.

A group of us did some cupping at their lab, which included one of the coffees in the top 10 of the Cup of Excellence competition.
We were looking over the dry-mill facility, across the drying patios from the cupping room, when the lunch bell rang and the coffee-sorters flooded in! This is the final quality stage to get the true EP (Euro-Preparation) grade coffee. Even though the coffee is density-sorted on an Oliver table, and colormetric sorted by machine, hand-prepping is key to quality. It's a boring job but this is considered good work, and everyone received fair trade wages and benefits!

My favorite sign at the Prodecoop mill. Dust is a real problem at some mills, and as in grain silos, dust can be explosive. But the Prodecoop mill is the cleanest I have ever seen, with the coffee-sorters separated completely from the hulling and sorting equipment that kick up so much dust into the air.

I realized as we walked through the facility that this was the exact shipment of
Organic Segovia from the Miraflores Co-op that we had reserved coffee from. After the tour of the mill
we were off to visit one of the small member co-ops, La Union...

La Union Cooperative; Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua
La Union Cooperative has 27 members, and has their coffee dry-milled at Prodecoop. They also have the honor of being the #4 coffee in the auction this year (consider that this was one of 400+ samples submitted), and this is the second year they have been among the top lots! The Co-op is near the Honduran border, in fact Honduras was just over the next ridge. They have a small communal meeting space and coffee receiving station in Dipilto, Nueva Segovia.

To the left: The Co-op is on steep hillsides with coffee trees planted under heavy shade ... this is typical for not only organic coffees grown in Nicaragua but all coffee.

On the march up to 1600 meters, me with some of the Co-op members. They have native shade trees but also banana interplanted with the coffee (I had thought that banana couldn't be grown at coffee elevations). The Cultivars here are mostly Typica, Bourbón, and some Caturra.



At this time of the season, the first flowering of the trees was complete, and where the flower was (dried brown remnants) emerges the coffee fruit. You can see the little green cherries starting to form in this picture to the left.

The entire group of farmers and foreigners visiting La Union Coop. In the foreground is the Oakland CA contingent, me and John from Mr. Espresso.

My favorite artwork: the Nicaragua anthem next to El Tigre -for a soccer team?

Typical adobe house set into the hill side. This one is beside the wet-mill, and belongs to three generations of coffee farmers, all still living under one roof!

We stopped for a cup of coffee and enjoyed the company of some spirited, and somewhat hostile, animals. This little dog was only friendly when you had food; without that it would bare its teeth...

The hostile, hissing duck - well, she's got good reason.

And the fiercest of all. This turkey was puffing up its feathers and chasing us visitors out of its way, much to the delight of the co-op members. But it was all good fun, and I wasn't going to leave without a good close-up of the brute!

Also see:

Nicaragua Cup of Excellence Competition 2003
Nicaragua Trip 2003: Matagalpa and Nueva Segovia
Selva Negra Farm: Matagalpa, Nicaragua

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