Journey to the source 2020: Canales family

Voyage à la source 2020: famille Canales

his year marks our eleventh year of collaboration with the Canales Family. Renowned for being the first organic farm to win first place in the Nicaraguan Cup of Excellence, the Canales family continues to produce exceptional coffee. This year, 2 new features awaited us, as well as less good news.

First, one of the three Canales brothers, Norman, acquired a new lot. This is an old farm that was owned by an NGO and produced different fruits and coffee. However, the farm had been abandoned for 4 years. The lot, known as “ Auxilio Mundial ” is located on one of the highest peaks in the area, at more than 1700m above sea level. If we are in the middle of a period of drought and it is generally oppressively hot in the department of Estelí, this is not the case here: the air is fresh, a gentle breeze caresses our faces and the vegetation is luxuriant . Moreover, Norman intends to leave 50% of the surface area of ​​his farm in the wild, in order to protect an ecosystem which is becoming increasingly rare. The other 50%, which was already dedicated to agriculture, will be dedicated to coffee and more precisely to the Bourbon 300 and Geisha varieties. The climate here is so different that the harvest will take place up to three months after the main harvest in the surrounding area.

The farm currently produces some coffee, left almost wild. The variety present is unknown to us, but certain clues point us towards a hybrid Ethiopian variety. Although a quantifiable harvest will be impossible this year, we look forward to getting the first samples and tasting this very special nano-lot later this summer.

From here, the view is spectacular and you can easily see the border with Honduras, some 8km away.

Nicaragua sourcing trip Canales Family

Second novelty this year: this will be the first year that the Canales family will sort their coffee in their own mill. Last year they acquired this grinder and only used it for one or two batches, but this year all their coffee will be sorted through their new Facility. It's an accomplishment that their father is very proud of: their dad, Daniel Señor Canales, came here more than 40 years ago to bring his very first coffee harvests, when the mill was the property of the authoritarian government. of the time. He never dreamed, even in his wildest dreams, that his family would one day own these facilities. Señor Canales no longer travels as much as before (he celebrated his 85th birthday!) but he was present during the inauguration and the start-up of the machinery. We had great pleasure watching him inspect the various stations and machines, with satisfaction, before sitting down and dozing off to the sound of the constant whir of the coffee sorting.

Nicaragua - Canales

Finally, one last piece of mixed news:

Last year, the harvest was reduced by a severe drought. Even if the start of the harvest had started well with good rains which gave the plant many buds, in the almost total absence of water the coffee trees ended up aborting certain beans to maximize their energy on fewer beans and cherries. This, theoretically, has a positive effect on coffee quality: a tree that produces less usually produces more concentrated, denser and therefore generally higher quality cherries/fruits/beans.

The counterpart, however, is obvious: much less yield. This year production would be around 30% lower than in previous years.

Regardless, it was a huge pleasure to see the whole Canales family again. After all these years of visits (Milton also came to Canada), something has settled in that certainly goes beyond business and we are already looking forward to seeing them again next year.

Canales family with JF