This coffee came to us as a bit of a surprise. We’ve had coffees from Nicaragua in the past, but this special reserve may be the most delicate and intriguing we have ever had. To back up a little, our Specialty Reserve collection features unique coffees that pique our interests. They allow us to explore all aspects of specialty coffee and showcase the vast flavor profiles coffee offers. We usually roast them lighter since the coffees are more intricate. However, we keep an open mind to all our coffees. We try to listen to the coffee as we are profiling the roast, and it tells us how it wants to be roasted. (I know, it’s a little meta.) This one is on the lighter side with flavor notes of persimmon and chamomile. Intriguing, right!
Finca La Ilusion is located in the Nueva Segovia department of Nicaragua. With its mountainous terrain, spectacular waterfalls, densely forested areas, hot springs and verdant coffee plantations, the region is starting to get noticed as an ecotourism destination. It’s divided into twelve municipalities – Ciudad Antigua, Dipilto, El Jicaro, Jalapa, Macuelizo, Mozonte, Murra, Ocotal, Quilali, San Fernando, Santa Maria and Wiwili de Nueva Segovia. It’s located in the north-northwest part of Nicaragua, bordering Honduras. The region was inhabited by indigenous people known as Mayangnas and Matagalpas. Unfortunately, Nueva Segovia was one of the first regions of Nicaragua to be colonized by the Spaniards. The conquistadors established the city of Vieja and later Antigua. The Spanish period decimated the indigenous population reducing its numbers from estimates of 75,000 people to 4,500 at the end of their occupation. Nicaragua gained independence from Spain in 1821.
Northern Nicaragua is the most diversified region producing coffee, cattle, milk products, vegetables, wood, gold, and flowers. The quality of the coffee is excellent. The Nueva Segovia department only contains 10.62% of Nicaragua’s total annual coffee production, yet 80% of the nominees for the Cup of Excellence are from there.
Sourced from Ally Coffee
We sourced this coffee from Ally Coffee. When micro lots were not being shipped due to issues with container availability, Ally set aside space to bring in this beautiful coffee. Not that shipping issues are completely resolved, but back in 2020-2021, shipping was a mess. Since containers were in short supply, most importers were only bringing in coffee they knew they could sell. That meant many micro lots were left behind. We usually work with Ally on our Brazil coffees, but they sent us a sample of this coffee and we were blown away.
Finca La Ilusion
Finca La Ilusion certainly earns its name. The farm is perched on a mountain ridge between 1750 and 1900 meters above sea level, making it the highest in all of Nicaragua. Getting to the farm is quite a trek; even 4×4 trucks risk getting stuck. The farm’s seclusion wraps it in tranquility, with old growth primary forest stretching down the mountainsides and the clouds floating into the farm make for dream-like scenery.
The farm belongs to Francisco Valle, also the manager of our Nicaragua export partner Expocamo. When Francisco first heard about a coffee farm at such a high elevation in a remote location, he didn’t believe it was possible. It wasn’t until he ascended the mountain to arrive at La Ilusion that he saw the illusion to be real, with sweeping pine forests surrounding the farm and expansive views opening to the valleys below and chains of mountains in the distance.
The coffee was in a state of neglect when Francisco took over. Lack of management over the years left the soil depleted, plants had overtaken coffee trees, and the general state was one of deterioration. Francisco was up for the challenge, and in the five years since has transformed the forgotten farm’s seven hectares into one of the most stunning coffee properties in Nicaragua.