Dr. Erwin Mierisch
Yasica Norte, Matagalpa, Nicaragua
In the world of Matagalpa coffee, there are two Erwins: Don Erwin and his son, Erwin (I guess he's "junior" but you wouldn't think that looking at him). I've known Erwin the younger for several years now but it's taken us some time to actually getting around to buying coffee from his family.
During the war years, the family lived in Texas, meaning that Erwin the younger sometimes speaks with a distinctive Texas twang - which throws you off in the middle of Central America. Don Erwin practiced gynecology in the United States but brought the family back to Nicaragua to lead the farm and the family business that had been in operation since the 1930s.
There's a certain ideal, picturesque joy that comes from riding in the back of a pickup truck, but the reality is that it's brutal, harsh and punishing. If at all possible, I prefer shotgun where I can properly brace myself for he dips, bumps and divots that define a trip to the farms. High up in the mountains of Matagalpa lies El Limoncillo, one of the five farms the Mierisch family operates. Like it's cousins, Limoncillo features it's own wet mill to quickly process the coffee at its peak of ripeness. Further processing and dry milling for all the farms is done at the Beneficio Don Esteban, just outside of the town of Matagalpa.
Being heavily involved in the Cup of Excellence, Erwin understands intimately the results from proper processing of coffee and focuses the family's operations on remaining one of Nicaragua's top coffee producers. Some of the steps they take to help ensure this are: paying staff 30% above the minimum wage, providing free housing (with free electricity and running water) for the 60 families that live and work on their farms, free meals for all farm workers (both for those workers who live on site and those who commute), free day care facilities for the families, free health care and on-site teachers to help staff diversify their skills.
The farms reuse all process waste as organic mulch for crops, engage in no mechanical harvesting, 100% sun drying all coffee, recycling all water and cleaning the water they return to the ecosystem, utilize natural tree canopy to serve as growing shade and dedicating portions of their land as natural preserve.
Speaking of riding in the back of pickups - one day Erwin and his father were driving through the town of Juanetillo when they happened upon an old man on the side of the road selling old shovels and some mysterious coffee seeds. Don Erwin decided to buy the man's twenty pounds of beans then took them to an agronimist who determined that this was a great, rare, low-yield coffee that was not resistant to diseases, known as JavaNica.
While there's no true traceability of the origin of this varietal, they believe it to be related to the Typica variety due to the elongated shape, while others believe it to be related to the Ethiopian Long Berry. Either way, Familia Mierisch calls it JavaNica. With smaller production size and distinctly different and "un-Central American" flavor profile, the Limoncillo JavaNica is one that really struck me on the tasting table.
In the cup, the JavaNica gives off a rich, earthy fragrance that reminds me of the old science lab diatomaceous earth. It's creamy and sweet with light cacao notes that are smooth and low in acidity. A medium-light bodied coffee that gives off clean flavors that remind me of English Cadbury milk chocolate and hints of creamy caramel.
2015 El Limoncillo JavaNica MicroLot 1983
Producer: Dr. Erwin Mierisch
Farm Manager: Santos Demitrio Flores
Region: Yasica Norte, Matagalpa, Nicaragua
Elevation: 1150 masl
Harvest: February 2015
Style: Shade grown
Processing: Pulp Natural
Certification: Utz Kapeh
2015 El Limoncillo JavaNica
Whole Bean - 10 ounces
Please Note: Our Sproastery works on a weekly roasting schedule to provide the freshest coffee possible. Currently, our roast day is on Tuesdays. Our coffees are roasted on Tuesday and shipped out by Wednesday for weekday delivery. Please place your orders by midnight Monday night so that we can accommodate your order in our production schedule. Thank you.