Nicaragua - La Ilusion - Washed
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ELEVATION: 1825 masl
La Ilusion is a classic Washed coffee of Catuai and Catimor varieties. The bright, vibrant flavors are 100% terroir. The special mountain microclimate is what gives this coffee its stunning profile. Washed processing makes the final result clean and lets the attributes of the farm shine through. We love this coffee for its simplicity; the varieties and processing are traditional but all stages of production are carried out perfectly to yield a coffee that captures the unique essence of the place where it was grown.
Finca La Ilusion certainly earns its name. The farm is perched on a mountain ridge between 1750 and 1900 meters above sea level, making it the highest in all of Nicaragua. Getting to the farm is quite a trek; even 4×4 trucks risk getting stuck. The farm’s seclusion wraps it in tranquility, with old growth primary forest stretching down the mountainsides and the clouds floating into the farm make for dream-like scenery.
The farm belongs to Francisco Valle, also the manager of our Nicaragua export partner Expocamo. When Francisco first heard about a coffee farm at such a high elevation in a remote location, he didn’t believe it was possible. It wasn’t until he ascended the mountain to arrive at La Ilusion that he saw the illusion to be real, with sweeping pine forests surrounding the farm and expansive views opening to the valleys below and chains of mountains in the distance.
The coffee was in a state of neglect when Francisco took over. Lack of management over the years left the soil depleted, plants had overtaken coffee trees, and the general state was one of deterioration. Francisco was up for the challenge, and in the five years since has transformed the forgotten farm’s seven hectares into one of the most stunning coffee properties in Nicaragua.
But, farming at such a remote location is not without its sacrifices. Workers stay on the farm for weeks and months at a time with weekly supply deliveries. During harvest season, trucks make the journey up the mountain every other day to collect the freshly washed coffee. The degree of difficulty in producing coffee here is matched only by the degree of natural beauty.
The closest town to La Ilusion is Mozonte, a small community just off the road that leads from Ocotal to the Honduras border. From this dusty village, a handful of roads lead to the highest peaks in the country. Coffee farms in Mozonte produce some of Nicaragua’s most incredible coffees, but their isolation makes them still something of a mystery among locals.
This lot was fermented for 36 hours and fully washed then dried on raised beds.