Farm: Finca Casa Quemada
Varietal: Caturra & Red Catuaí
Processing: Fully washed & dried on raised beds
Altitude: 1,450 to 1,600 meter above sea level
Owner: Jairo Daniel Herrara
Town / City: Cerro de la Explosion, San Fernando
Region: Nueva Segovia
Casa Quemada (Nueva Segovia) - Nicaragua
Finca Casa Quemada (Burnt House Farm) located in Cerro de la Explosion (Explosion Hill) is one of the strangest combinations of farm name and community that we’ve come across! Although we can only guess at how the community gained its name, the farm – sadly – earned its moniker after almost the entire farm burnt down in 2004 in a forest fire. The fired caused serious damage to the surrounding land, and the previous farm owner was forced to sell the farm. One man’s misfortune, however, led to a new life for current owner, Jairo Daniel Herrara. As a young man, Jairo emigrated to the United States to work in construction. He always missed Nicaragua, however, and moved back in 2011 with the aim of owning his own farm. When he found Casa Quemada, he knew his dream had come true.
The farm lies at a tremendous altitude for coffee growing. At 1,400 to 1,600 metres above sea level, his plantation of Caturra and Red Catuaí find ideal natural surroundings. The coffee harvest comes late here – in Nicaragua the usual period is March through May, but sometimes Jairo’s first pass isn’t until early May! This late harvest is an indication that his coffee remains on the tree longer, ripening more slowly and concentrating more delicious flavour in each ripe cherry.
All coffee is processed at the farm’s own wet mill. Only the ripest and most perfect cherries are picked during the harvest. These are delivered immediately to the wet mill, pulped, and then fermented in wooden tanks for between 14 to 20 hours depending on the climate at the time. After fermentation, the coffee is fully washed and then soaked in clean water until all traces of mucilage are removed. After washing, it is delivered to the Guadalupana mill in Ocotal where the coffee is carefully and evenly dried on raised beds. The drying process takes between 12 and 18 days depending of the weather, during which time it is carefully turned on a regular basis. After achieving optimal humidity, the coffee is rested and then dry milled at Ocotol mill when it is ready to be exported.