Farm: Finca Las Pilas
Varietal: Caturra & Catuaí
Processing: Fully washed & dried on raised beds
Altitude: 1,100 metres above sea level
Owner: Leonardo Zacarias Valle
Town / City: Las Cuchillas
Finca Las Pilas (Jinotega) - Nicaragua
Leonardo Valle is the third generation of his family to farm coffee. He began working on coffee farms in Jinotega, where he grew up, when he was as young as 6 years old. As he got a bit older, he decided that he wanted to run his own farm and began saving up little by little. Eventually he was able to purchase his first 2 manzanas (1.4 hectares) of land, which he called ‘El Bourbon’. This was the beginning of a new phase in his life. He began expanding his land, planting primarily Caturra, with his brother Antonio and a friend, Jose Maria Valle, with whom he had worked in the past.
Leonardo is the second-born in a family of 7 siblings, but he is the defacto head of the family. All his life he has helped his community, Las Cuchillas, to raise funds for various improvement projects, including introducing electricity and drinking water. Today Leonardo Valle is focused on establishing a long-term relationship with a coffee buyer - someone who will finally recognize the quality of his coffee and the work that he has put in over the last 30 years. 2016 marks the first year that Mercanta has worked with Leonardo, but we hope to continue investing in his quest for great coffee for many years to come.
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.