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Nicaragua and El Salvador January 2006 Travelogue

Another trip to Central America to see the coffee during harvest and milling, and to seek out new small lots for purchase. Click on a small picture to see a big one.

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Incredibly healthy coffee trees on the Limoncillo farm under a heavy shade canopy. We came to Nicaragua to visit the Meirisch family farms and this is what we saw.
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An afternoon break for the Meirisch dudes; R to L; Irwin, Steve, Irwin Sr.
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A nature walk at Limoncillo Estate to the waterfall. What? You don't have a waterfall on *your* estate? No, those fake ones in the 'burbs don't count.
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On the waterfall path. Some gnarly tree trunk and coffee branches.
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Tropical foilage and flowers on the path. This is about 10' tall x 4" diameter.
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More of the same ... yawn ... where's the nearest Burger King?
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A favorite of mine, timber bamboo. This is about 3-4 inch canes and 30-50' tall. The variegation is like Alphonse Karr, a loosely clumping type of Bambusa Multiplex, but this is larger.
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Catuai or Caturra (my notes unclear) at Limoncillo Farm. Limoncillo is in Matagalpa in a region generally called Yasica Norte.
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This is one of the projects I came to see, the Java cultivar planted at Limoncillo. This tree has a more upright form which is fairly easy to note.
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I know these look unusual, but they are simply at a stage of ripening between yellow and red. I do think it is odd that with the Java I could see both green and red on the same cherry. In general the tree has a low yield.
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The tips (new leaf) on the Java ranges from bronze to this extraordinary red, something else I have never seen.
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The parchment coffee. Another surprise is this elongated and pointed form, Ethiopian in it's character. I expected Java to be one of the highly hybridized, modern types actually grown in Java. What I think we have here is one of the early types taken from Yemen or Ethiopia to Java.
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Another coffee that the Mierisch family does a great job with is the large bean Pacamara. Note the slightly pointed form on the tip of the cherry. Pacamara is not an entirely stable varietal and 15% reverts back to Maragogype or Pacas types.
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Pacamara parchment (pergamino) drying on screens. This is averaging around 19/64ths screen size - very large.
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Yellow Pacamara! An interesting Pacamara note. I was told in El Salvador there are 8 "strains" of Pacamara with differing cup results. One is known to be somewhat onion-scallion in character ... something I have tasted in Pacamara coffees I don't like. Others are simply mild and boring. Meirischs Pacamara is awesome and lively.
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Irwin Sr. and one of the farm foreman next to an oversized Maragogype tree.
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Picker's basket with some really nicely selected ripe cherry.
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Bags of cherry are usually walked from the nearby picking areas to an area where they can be loaded on the truck.
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The coffee cherry is then driven to the mill. These trucks have massive capacity, and negotiate some pretty rough roads. Near Limoncillo, one ran off a road and rolled, but the driver was unhurt.
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The truck either has bulk or bagged cherry. In either case, each cultivar is kept separate as they are put into a water-filled receiving tank.
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At Limoncillo they have been adding an enzyme to the water to help initialize the breakdown of the mucilage layer, the muciligo.
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Fresh cherry washed into the depulper that removes the outer skin.
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The mucilage-covered seed and the skins are washed into a criba that separates the two, and removes some floaters (dead, hollow seeds) and underripe.
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The resulting coffee is washed out into a tile-lined cement tank to ferment off the muciligo.
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Washing the coffee down the channel after fermentation at the Limoncillo Mill.
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I'm voting NO too... dammit
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We left Limoncillo farm for another Mierisch farm, Las Placeras. This is also in Matagalpa Yasica Sur. An outbuilding at Placeras.
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Irwin likes Placeras because it is where the livestock is kept. Here, a Peruvian Paso horse, supposedly with such a smooth ride you can drink a cup of coffee while riding!
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Not all livestock are pretty princess ponies with jewels in their forehead. Sorry gals ...
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The prize-winning cattle at Las Placeras. I thought these were Brahma but my Brasilian pal says they are another Indian type. I need to take better notes...

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