El Cambalache Nicaragua

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  • Origin: El Cambalache, Dipilto, Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua
  • Farmer: Abner Samuel and Indira Paola Zavala Gonzalez
  • Altitude: 1350 and 1450 masl
  • Varietal: Maracaturra
  • Process: Red Honey
  • Tasting Notes: Blackberry, Honeycomb, Vanilla

El Cambalache coffee farm is rooted in the traditions of the Zavala Gonzalez family. Located 500 meters north of the El Cambalache School, in Dipilto, Nueva Segovia, this farm is a legacy passed down through generations, currently owned by siblings Abner Samuel and Indira Paola Zavala Gonzalez for over a decade.

The farm stretches across 14.5 hectares of sandy loam soil at an altitude range of 1250 – 1400 meters above sea level. It employs five permanent workers and hires an additional 45 during the harvest season from November to March. El Cambalache grows an array of coffee varieties including Caturra, Yellow Catuai, Red Catuai, Maracaturra, Marcelleza, Geisha, and Catimor, delivering an average yield of 15 quintals of cherry per hectare.

The eco-friendly cultivation process at El Cambalache aligns with the principles of social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Coffee plants grow under the shade of various forest, fruit, and musaceae species, protected by low-intensity pesticides and nourished by both organic and synthetic fertilizers. Regular pruning is carried out to enhance the coffee plant’s structure, with proper management of shade for optimum sunlight penetration. The ripe coffee cherries are hand-picked, ensuring a premium selection of beans.

Perched at an altitude between 1350 and 1450 meters above sea level, this 5-hectare lot is dedicated to the cultivation of the Maracaturra variety.

The coffee cherries, post-harvest, undergo a careful process of measurement, selection, floating, and depulping. Packed into plastic bags and sacks, they are then left to ferment for 36 hours before being sent to the processing facility. Here, the beans are laid out on African beds within microtunnels for drying. In this phase, they are kept off the ground and moved around using PVC rakes. Once dried, the coffee is stored in a specific area within the warehouse in new plastic bags and macen sacks, keeping them separate from other coffee batches.

The beans are lifted from the drying patios at a humidity level between 11 to 11.5% and stored for about a month. They are then milled, classified based on export requirements, and packed into Ecotact bags and jute sacks with the corresponding ICO label, ready for export.

With its commitment to sustainable cultivation practices and its legacy of coffee production, El Cambalache reflects the resilience and passion of the Zavala Gonzalez family, adding a rich historical and cultural dimension to the flavors of its coffee.