It’s time to dazzle and amaze you, our loyal customers with another coffee spotlight. This episode will feature the wonderful Nicaragua Selva Negra.
Nicaragua Selva Negra (Black Forest) is an estate coffee growing in the mountains of the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua. La Hommonia Farm was originally opened by German immigrants in 1890 and has grown to be a successful estate employing over 400 workers.
Selva Negra is a mixture of Bourbon and Caturra varietals. It’s growth altitude is 4000 feet. The farm offer its plants up to 60% shade covering during the summer and supports over 40 species of trees. There is much much more interesting information on this subject about this coffee, but it would be easier to point you to the Selva Negra website, where you can learn all about their estate and the wonderful things they do. Click right here to get there.
This info is also found on the website, but we felt it pertinent enough to share with you. The Selva Negra farm employs around 400 workers full time with that number nearly doubling during the harvest season. Workers are provided quality housing. There is an elementary school for workers children as well as scholarship opportunities for them as they continue their schooling. There is an on-site medical clinic as well as an on-site grocery selling basic foodstuffs.
But what does it taste like?
We’re glad you asked. Like our last coffee spotlight, we tried this coffee using a few different brew methods to get an overall idea of tastiness.
Cupping is the traditional way coffee professionals evaluate a coffee, and since we’d like to consider ourselves coffee professionals, we’d like to share with you our thoughts.
While the cupping form and categories change a little here and there, here are the criteria we used; fragrance, arma, acidity, flavor, body, and aftertaste.
Fragrance- Fragrance is the smell of coffee grounds before water has been added. The fragrance we found in the Serra Negra contained chocolate and nuts.
Aroma- Aroma is the smell of coffee when water has been added to the grounds. When we added water the generalized chocolate went to milk chocolate and the generalized nut went to almonds.
Break- In a cupping coffee grounds are put in the bottom of a cup and water is added directly to the grounds. After a little bit, the grounds form a kind of crust at the top of the cup. During the break, you (get this) break the top crust and take a whiff. When we whiffed, we found more and more of the chocolate and nuts of the previous smells.
Acidity- Don’t be alarmed, we’re not talking about boiling acid or anything like that. Acidity is a good thing. It’s what makes an orange zesty and an apple crisp. A lemon tart, and a peach peachy. acidity is the brightness of a coffee, what gives it zip. We found the Serra Negra to be Moderately zippy. Not so much lemon zip, more along the lines of apple or pear zip. Zippalicious.
Flavor- Flavor refers to the (drum roll) flavor of the coffee. Any guesses where the flavor is going (hint, see above aroma and fragrance)? We definitely found the chocolate. The nut flavors were a little less pronounced, and also we found a little woody note. But good woody.
Body- Body is the mouthfeel of the coffee. Think in terms of milk; the lightness of skim as opposed to the heaviness of whole. Serra Negra has a lighter body. If it were to magically transform in taste to milk, we’d think it was 1 or 2 %.
Aftertaste- We wish that some of these terms would be easier to understand. Aftertaste refers to what you taste in you mouth after you drink the coffee. We found the taste to be pretty quick, that is to say the taste dissipated fairly rapidly. In that short time we did taste, we found it to be a little dry.
The Clever coffee dripper is a new brewing device to us, but we like it. It has all the things one would like about a coffee maker, it’s cheap, easy to use, and makes great coffee. How does it work? You place a filter in the dripper and add ground and water. The coffee brews like a french press in the filter until you’re done brewing. You then place the filter on top of a cup and a “clever” device allows the coffee to then drip through the bottom of the filter.
You get the great direct brew time of a french press with the filter of a pourover. The result? To keep it short and sweet, we’ll just tell you that the Selva Negra came out smooth. How smooth? Think Lando Calrissian. We also found that chocolate that has been persistent throughout the cup.
We’ve told you about the Chemex haven’t we?
In the Chemex, the Selva Negra produced some great floral notes we hadn’t noticed yet in the coffee. Hurray for alternative brewing methods!
We also tried Selva Negra as a single origin espresso.
We pulled a 20 gram double and found some more of the floral notes we got from the chemex as well as a full body and slight sweetness.
We’re really excited about having this coffee in our lineup and hope to be able to continue serving it for quite a while. Give it a try and you won’t be disappointed! Peace.