Nicaraguan Cup of Excellence
The Genaro Herrera Finca La Cascada defies any preconceived notion one ay have about Nicaraguan coffee. It stands out as an incredibly exceptional cup with the whole roasted beans akin to a butterscotch confection, and the brewed fragrance awash in floral tones. The assortment of tropical, citrus, blackberry, and green apple notes along with undercurrents of silky chocolate and caramel give this unique coffee an overall sweet and juicy flavor profile. We knew immediately that this coffee was something we wanted to be a part of and with the help of our Central and South American importing partner, Caravela Coffee, we joined a buying group and were successful in our pursuits as the winning bidders for this coffee in the 2014 Nicaragua Cup of Excellence auction!
Finca La Cascada is located in the La Unión community of San Fernando municipality, Nueva Segovia. Proprietor Don Genaro Herrera is a first generation coffee producer and started Finca La Cascada in 1967. Before growing coffee he was a vegetable and cattle farmer, which he learned from his father. He noticed his friends and neighbors in San Fernando were doing great growing coffee, so he decided to sell his cattle and try his luck. Due to civil war, he had to abandon his property three times and never had the chance to really take care of the coffee plants. At the beginning, he planted the Caturra variety, but in 2007 he started to grow Maracaturra and Maragogype varieties because of their quality and also because he liked the size of the large beans. The Maragogype yield is very low, but he prefers the quality, which makes the difference for specialty coffee.
For years, Don Genaro tried to get into the specialty coffee market, but unfortunately for Nicaraguan coffee producers it’s difficult. He feels fortunate to be part of the Virmax Nicaragua exporting family. They saw the potential in his 2013-2014 coffee crop and encouraged him to participate in 2014 Nicaragua Cup of Excellence Coffee Competition, where he placed as a finalist and accepted with great honor.
Don Genaro believes the secret to amazing coffee depends on the condition of the soil, elevation, microclimate, and varietals as well as the producer’s passion and agricultural practices. He also knows that picking only the ripe cherries is crucial along with the care taken during the wet milling process. Don Genaro’s coffee was dried on raised African beds for the first time ever at Beneficio La Estrella. The beds are fully covered with a material called Sarhan, which provides 80% of shade during the whole process, ensuring an even and controlled drying.
Moving forward, Don Genaro is planning 11,600 additional plants of Maracaturra and Maragogype varieties at Finca La Cascada. After his success in the 2014 Cup of Excellence, he truly believes in these varieties and wants to be recognized as a high quality coffee producer with the purpose of establishing long lasting relationships with coffee buyers.