This lot is from the Buenos Aires Beneficio (wet mill) just outside Ocotal, Nueva Segovia. The emphasis here is not on the mill or region as much as the coffee variety grown, a unique type called Java (they pronounce it "hava"), sometimes called Nicajava. It is not from Java, and it's true origin is a bit of a mystery, an elongated and slightly pointed bean, and a tree with very upright branches, reminiscent of a young pine cut as a Christmas tree. Some of these plants have green-tipped new leaves, others are bronze-colored (see first photo). I first sourced this coffee over 10 years ago from the Mierisch family, and since then, the seed has been planted at many farms yielding different results. More significant than the history is a unique cup character that stands out on a table of Nicaragua Caturra or Catuai coffees. The Java has a unique sweetness, and moderate floral and fruit notes.
Transplanting cultivars doesn't always yield a carbon copy - especially when it comes to what's tasted in the cup. And though perhaps not a mirror image, this is one of the successes, and the coffee shows a blend of characteristics we ascribe to Central American as well as African coffees. The nose boasts sugar in the raw and nut tones, as you'd expect from a nice Nicaraguan coffee. But there are also dark fruit and light floral accents peeking out from underneath. The wet aroma has smells of stewed fruits, plum and fig come to mind, and with a smell of ginger snap cookies when breaking through the wet crust. The brewed coffee also shows much in the way of stewed fruits, City+ and Full City roasts delivering flavors of canned plums, and fig preserves as the cup cools. Middle roasts harness a balance between bitter cocoa tones and sweet sugary flavors, the sort of "core" flavors we expect from this origin. The cooling coffee has a flavor of raw cane juice, pistachio butter, and fruited tea accent notes. Acidity is also tea-like, mild and slightly tannic, most apparent in our City+ roast. This coffee has a bit of silver skin intact, consequently producing quite a bit more chaff than some other coffees. Agitating the coffee with your bare hands is a good way to detach the chaff, followed by a good winnowing to remove it.
Cupping credit: Tom Owen. Processing: Wet; Varietal: Java; Appearance: 18-20 screen. (15 oz. bag)