francisco valle - la ilusión
Getting to La Ilusión was destined to be quite a ride, before heading out we picked up all the necessary equipment ‘Just in case we get stuck’. The red 4x4 beast did make it to the top without to much hassle, in this case the top literally means: the top. La Ilusión is pitched on a mountain ridge at 1750 up to 1900 meters above sea level; the highest in all of Nicaragua. This unique altitude shows itself of in the cup as well, it is one of the most complex coffees to be found in this country. From the farm house the pine forest stretches as far as the eye can see, dotted with white clouds down below. The clouds that do reach this height float through the plantation and make for a dreamy scenery; The Illusion certainly earns its name.
Francisco did not believe Ignacio when when he was first told about a coffee farm in Nicaragua at 1800 meters above sea level. He had to see this immediately, upon arrival he was blown away: stunning vistas, never seen before altitudes and overall a farm embedded in tranquility. However, the coffee was in decay. The lack of management caused the soil to deteriorate, plants to overgrow and chaos all-round. That was four years ago, nowadays La Ilusión is getting back on track and bound for greatness. Current projects include bringing exotic varietals such as SL28 and Java to the farm, which excel at these heights.
Farming at such remote locations comes with challenges and sacrifices. All workers stay at the farm for weeks or even months without much human contact outside of the farm. Food and other supplies are delivered weekly, whilst freshly washed coffee is picked up every other day. The difficulties in coffee farming are very real here, but so is the charm.
Monzonte, Nueva Segovia
1750 - 1900 meters above sea level
Catuaí & vilalobos